Listening and success in life

Many people do not seem to properly apprehend the value of good listening skills as instruments that upgrade one’s chances of success in life. Listening has aptly been described as “the building blocks of success”.

When there is effective listening, communication is enhanced whereas

when listening is ineffective, there is a high risk of communication breakdown liable to trigger anger, frustration and conflict.

In The Science and Art of Listening, Seth S. Horowitz (an auditory neuroscientist at Brown University and the author of “The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind.”) tells us:

“Listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.”

The message is clear: our era of digital distraction and information overload have seriously endangered listening. To make things worse, lots of people talk without listening. To them,talking much is a sign of brilliance or a way to gain the respect of others. Wherever they go, they want to dominate the talking. They don’t let others finish talking when they have not cut in to say what they deem more important.

This is not a positive attitude. I have often advised my friends and students against talking too much and listening very little. Not only is it a sign of an uneducated mind, but also it is detrimental to the concerned – an impediment to success. Someone with an educated mind will talk and listen to others knowing that others have their own say; that others could be right and they would be wrong; that others have a right to be heard also.

When we talk too much and do not listen we deprive ourselves of the chance of learning from others. It a mistake and pride to think that we have all the answers; that what others have to say does not matter; that only our own voice is good enough to be heard.

I have met people who in a discussion have inhibited vital information from being given them because they talked too much and stifled the other person. If you listen, you will gain information; you will learn; you will grow. Through listening you take in; through talking you mostly give out.

In the business or work place, good listening skills can bring about greater productivity and customer satisfaction, when information is shared and creative and innovative methods adopted.

To enhance your chances of success, learn to listen. There is much knowledge flying in the air for any ears that are willing to listen.This knowledge is coming through the lips of others in different forms.

You also need to listen to yourself. Much talking is going on in you. You are permanently talking to yourself but may not be aware unless you listen. Your mind, heart, and body all have their own voices. Listen to them.

We must also differentiate between hearing and listening. We all are endowed with hearing organs and can hear except we have some hearing defect; but not all of us can listen. We may hear but will not be listening. Listening demands attention; that we tune out sounds that are not important and focus on what is important. This is not as easy as it may appear.

The article Listening Skills by Skills You encapsulates the import of listening in all facets of our lives: work, business and personal lives.

“Effective listening is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships. Spend some time thinking about and developing your listening skills – they are the building blocks of success.”

The same article states:

“Many successful leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to effective listening skills. Richard Branson frequently quotes listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin.”

If your listening skills are not sharp start today to sharpen them. They may be your catalyst for success.


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