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Fact for Living: The Secret of Listening

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By Henry Ukazu

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”– Stephen R. Covey

Greetings Friends,

Today’s article will take a different route because it will be structured to empower any rational mind to think out of the box. One of the greatest force in life is love. There’s an imaginary strength that comes when we truly love. If you have truly loved, you’ll agree with me that you’ll not only care how your partner or friend feel, you’ll also listen to them.

I once read a book by Gary Chapman “The five love language Love language” where the author beautifully wrote about the five love languages (Words affirmation, physical touch, gift, services and time). When you truly care, you’ll apply all this love languages to your partner, friend, work or whatever you are doing. I choose to use love to buttress the important of listening because in whatever you do in life, if you don’t love it, you won’t give it your time and listening is one of the components of loving.

There are so many things we are stand to gain when we listen to people. One of the greatest things you can do for anyone is to listen to them. It should be noted that listening comes with respect. Whether you are in the cooperate world, self employed (entrepreneur), Non Government Organization or even faith based organization, you are bound to listen to your audience because that is the best way to communicate with them while serving them.

Listening is a choice, you decide to listen to what you like. It is really hard sitting or even standing up listening to people you don’t value. When you listen to podcast or programs of interest, you select music, talks or even comedy of interest that appeals to you. In this digital age, experience has taught me to pay attention to what really matters to me. In fact, unless I am sacrificing my time for a worthy cause, if it’s not taking me to the next level and if it doesn’t involve money, it doesn’t worth my time.

In any industry you are in, you need to practice good listening skills. Are you seeking for a job, or currently working, you need a good listening skill to succeed in a job environment.

With this skill, you can navigate the politics of the job environment. Even a leader needs this skill the most. I have always opine that one of the great art of a leader is the ability to listen and learn. This is because you get more ideas when you listen to your followers.

Listening gives you ability to hear (feedback) what others feel about your work. According to Bill Gates “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.

During the course of this article, we shall be discussing the different styles of listening and how we can use effective listening to enhance our business or opportunity of interest.

Practice active listening: The most important gift you can give to a public speaker is your ears. When you listen to someone, you are not only giving the person your time, you are also learning more about the person. There’s a saying you can learn more about a person by what he/she does than what he/she says. Practicing active listening is a very good way to learn and be engaged. In communication, what is important is not what is being said, but what is not being said, therein, lies the message. When you practice active listening, you hear the unspoken language from the other person in addition to being engaged.

According to G.K. Chesterton “there’s a lot of difference between hearing and listening.” This is because hearing isn’t necessarily listening. This is because you can hear someone but not present at the same time. Active listening makes you to be present. You may have heard of the saying, the joy of life is not happy you are, but how happy someone can because of you. Everyone loves to be listened and loved. In my book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success, specifically on page 111, I wrote about the four levels of gratitude (Appreciation, administration, approval and attention). In order to understand this teachings you must practice active listening to understand the unspoken words inherent in such deeds.

Eye Contact: A great communicator uses eye contact to deliver his/her message. One of the most valuable ways a public speaker communicate with his/she audience is by using eye contact. With eye contact, you can tell if your audience is listening or feeling bored.

Sometimes you hear what the person is saying when you look directly in the eyes of the person, sometimes, maintaining a visible presence by looking over the head audience gives them the desired space they need. This is because some people don’t feel comfortable when they have direct eye contact. Eye contact also goes with the body language of the speaker. In communication, sometimes, somethings are better felt than spoken.

Don’t interrupt the speaker: A good way to know a great speaker is by looking how he/she pitches his/point or message. Interrupting a speaker can ruin the flow of information. That is why sometimes, it is good to reserve questions towards at the end of any presentation.

Listen without judgment: –: In communication, most times, people listen with the intent to respond as opposed to understanding. This normally plays out most times in marriage. In law, a good to way to apply justice is by listening to the other side. In applying this knowledge, the judge normally use Audi alteram partem, a Latin phrase meaning “listen to the other side”, or “let the other side be heard as well”. It is the principle that no person should be judged without a fair hearing in which each party is given the opportunity to respond to the evidence against them.

Meditation: Mediation is a form of listening. According to Thomas Carlyle, “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together”. Meditation is truly a great form of listening. According to Wayne Dyer, an inspirational author, meditation is simply the act of being quiet with yourself and shutting the constant monologue that fills the inner space.

Meditation helps in self discovering. You learn more about yourself when you listen to your inner self as opposed to what other people think of you. There are many benefits that comes with meditation. Examples include: it reduces stress, helps you to focus very well, it reduces anxiety, it gives you better memory and enhances creativity.

In conclusion, a good listening skill if properly utilized will set you on a good path that will set you before leaders, kings and Heads of Industries if properly applied.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with New York City Department of Correction as the legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success.

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Food for Living: Become a Person of Value

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friend,

“Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value” – Albert Einstein

To be valuable is one of the best things that can happen to any person. Whoever has value is the king of the pack, and is well sought after. He is resourceful, and everyone wants to tap into his resourcefulness.

But what does it mean to be a person of value? Note that understanding differs when the word value is mentioned. Value is relative because what’s valuable to one person might not be valuable to another. For example, a lady who has several suitors seeking her hand in marriage has something of interest she admires and dislikes in every suitor, but what will determine who she will marry will be the value she desires in a man. This value might be money, character, academics, loyalty, beauty or skill.

It’s however, sad, when people think that value relates to only money; but value is more than money. It can be skills, academic qualifications or certification, network and networth, spiritual life, social life, physical strength, position, talent among others.

To the world, value means having something to offer; a person’s value is something that can make a positive difference in the lives of others. When one is valuable, it means that they are not just a consumer, but a producer and creator. It means that they are not just followers, but a leaders.

The importance of value cannot be overemphasized. Everyone has a measure of value, but the challenge most people face is the inability to maximize their value.

Your value is a gift to the world. Your value is your talent. People of value are in high demand. People of exceptional value are in higher demand, and are respected and honoured.

Did you know that your value can be used to know your interest? For instance, how you spend your time; what you think; how you invest and spend your money; where you work; causes you support; choice of majors; the books you read; the events you attend and more, all combine to reflect your inherent value. Your value will assist you to know how you can balance work life and career. Your value can be used to showcase your mission and passion for life.

It’s instructive to note that nobody will willingly come to you if you don’t have value. When you position yourself as a pest, beggar, liability, etc., people will begin to see you in that light. Just to let you know how attractive one can be, imagine an ant being attracted to sugar. It is simply because the sugar has what the ant likes. That’s how life works. People will come to you when they see you have what they have.  That simply tells you must add value to yourself. Quit complaining and apportioning blame to people, government and circumstance, take ownership and responsibility of your life.  According to – Marcus T Cicero “You will be of as much value to others as you have been to yourself.”

When you know the value you offer, you won’t need to talk too much. You will have self confidence, you won’t need to announce yourself, rather, people will seek your services or product. According to  Patrick Lencioni, the author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, “he stated the five ways to become a person of value and Influence. According to him, you must find your passion and purpose; Embrace Personal Development, choose a problem you can solve; be authentic.

1. Find your purpose and passion

The great and influential men and women the world has ever known were those who discovered and pursued their purpose and were driven by their passions. When you’re on the path of purpose, it’s easier to add significant value to the lives of others. You’ll hardly be of any significant value to people or influence them when you don’t know where you are going yourself. Purpose ignites passion which keeps you motivated, inspired and focused. You need that to be valuable and influential.

2. Embrace personal development

Becoming a person of value and influence demands embracing a lifelong pursuit of personal development. Personal development is a process of understanding and developing yourself to realize your full potential. The extent to which you’re able to add value and influence others depends on the extent to which you have been able to develop yourself. Every raw material has little or no value. It becomes valuable after it’s been refined. Take time to refine yourself in every area. That could be hard but it’s rewarding. Daily ask yourself, “What do I need to learn or do to become a better person?

3. Choose a problem you can solve for people

To be a person of value and influence, you have to become genuinely interested in people enough to solve a specific problem for them. Think of what you can do to make lives better. The more people you solve problems for, the more valuable and influential you become.

4. Be original and unique

When we live our lives mimicking or imitating others, it steals our originality. Originality is the beauty of life. Guess what? Imitations don’t get much attention, originals do.  You can copy my style, but you can’t imitate my creativity. We’ve all heard that when you imitate someone else, the best you can be is second best. That’s very true. To be a person of influence, don’t be anyone else. Be you.

5. Pursue excellence

Becoming a person of value and influence is not going to be so much about what you do as it is about how well you do it. It’s said that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Go beyond the usual. Add a touch of class in all you do. That’s what excellence is all about. Mind you it’s not the same as perfection.

6. Encourage and inspire others

Find a way to encourage and inspire others to be all they can be. Empower, share your knowledge and skills with others. Your value and influence is connected to the number of lives that are better because of you.

7. Exude confidence

Self-confidence is one quality that’s very admirable. It’s about knowing what you want and having the courage and boldness to go for it. When you’re self-confident, people are attracted to you. When you don’t have it, the opposite is the case. The reason is simple — what value do you think a person who doesn’t believe in himself offers?

8. Have integrity

It’s true that none of us is perfect but for you to be a person of value and influence you must be able to earn people’s confidence and trust. You should be able to live by certain values that uphold sound moral principles. Integrity means always doing the right thing and, in all circumstances, whether or not it’s convenient. It’s about being sincere and real. It’s about being honest enough to admit when you’re wrong. It’s your “yes” as “yes” and your “no” as “no”. It’s people trusting you not for any other reason but because you have earned their trust.

In conclusion, to be relevant consider being a person of value. Remember, your value depends on what you can offer.

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Food for Living: Adding Value: Unpredictable Nature of Life

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

There are different philosophies, principles, facts, theories, and truths that guide life. The ability to understand these dynamics can position one very well. Life can however, spring surprises because that’s its nature. It can also be very complex, and it takes discernment of mind to comprehend it.

Withoutan iota of doubt, life can be as unpredictable as it can fragile. So, it’s advisable to handle it with care. Just like the rain falls on every roof, and death visits every household, life and success can be unpredictable no matter how well you plan for them.

The journey of life offers us several opportunities, misfortunes and experiences. Your ability to manage and navigate through all the varieties of life will determine your attitude towards it because of its unpredictability.

We never know what the next chapter life will offer, and the uncertainty it will bring. This uncertainty can be both thrilling and terrifying.

Life is a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, and unexpected surprises. It is a rollercoaster ride that takes one through moments of joy, sorrow, triumph, and defeat. One thing is certain however, there are factors that contribute to this unpredictability.

Uncertainty is an essential aspect of human experience, and accepting it can lead to personal growth, resilience, and a more fulfilling life. Uncertainty can be likened to risk. No one knows what will unfold.

It is in these moments of uncertainty that we discover our true beings, strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities. In fact, we get to know more things about ourselves. By embracing the fear of the unknown, we become more flexible and open to change, which is essential for navigating the unpredictable nature of life.

On a personal note, I had plans to work in the United Nations, study a particular major, marry a certain kind of lady, have a certain number of children, etc. But as one matures and experiences life, sometimes what we think is good for us might not be good for us and what we think is odd might be what life is for you.

For instance, you might desire to marry a curvy lady with intelligence, but at the end of the day, life can give you a lady with high school diploma, with less beauty, but with the ideal qualities you need to succeed.

Over time, my experience of life has changed due to the books I have read, and human relationships have taught me to accept the unknown by preparing for the best and expecting the worst.

Sometimes life offers us golden opportunities through relationships, but our inability to manage the opportunities and relationships will make the opportunity to slide. It’s sad to see people who think because they have certain people and opportunities, they believe the opportunity won’t leave them, either because they think they are too good or can’t be replaced. However, they fail to understand that in life, nothing is guaranteed.

Again, some people think and feel that because they have money, power, network and resources, life will remain permanent and soft for them, however they fail to understand that nothing in life is guaranteed, except death and God. Your power can fail you; your money can fail you, your network, contacts can disappoint you., you can lose your job, etc. but God can’t fail his people.

Just to understand how unpredictable life can be, imagine buying a new car, you are not guaranteed safety in the car if you are driving the car. This is because no matter how careful you are, you are not sure what other drivers might be driving on the road. Again, you may have a sound car, you cannot tell how durable the car might be because it can break down unexpectedly due to one mechanical or electrical fault. That’s just simply how unpredictable life can be.

One of the experiences life has taught me is not to believe in my knowledge, understanding and my network, but to trust in the capacity of God. I vividly remember one day I was invited by Mr. kola Adesina, the Group Managing Director of Sahara Energy for a friendly meeting. During the meeting, I shared my desires and plans of introducing my work to some resourceful people. He smiled and said to me, your prayer should be for God to connect me to meet the right people and not the names I mentioned. That statement made me speechless for a minute.

He went on to say, you might meet Bill Gates, Jef Bezos, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Aliko Dangote, etc, but they are not the right people for me, according to him, he has seen people who worked with bigger names and still became poor. While am I sharing these, when I look back at some of the achievements and resourceful people, I have had close contact with, I know it’s only God who has made it possible because on my own I wouldn’t have been able to do it, and the people I was hoping to introduce me to them didn’t come through.

In conclusion, whatever you have, please manage it because nothing is guaranteed.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny Design Your  and Unleash Your Destiny .  He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Food for Living: The First Step

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

It is an incontrovertible fact that greatness is appealing and soothing to the heart. Globally, greatness is celebrated because of the accolades that come with it. The question we all fail to ask is what does it take to be great?

Several factors contribute to the greatness of an individual, among which are tenacity, discipline, failure, belief system, courage, etc.

According to Ernest Agyemang Yeboah, “There has never been any great person who never met great trials and oppositions, but their patience, tenacity, endurance and perseverance saw them to the end as great people”. It is these trials and oppositions that will determine how great we will be.

Just like gold must go through a furnace to be refined, we all must be tested in our way or another to determine our passion, interest and courage.

Greatness is not easy to come by. One must soil his hand to make ends meet. Ernest Agyemang Yeboah maintains that “anytime you enjoy the sweet fruits of the tree, remember the dirty roots of the tree”. To be great is like making money. Nobody acquires genuine money with clean hands, you must soil your hand in a mud for you to reap the fruits of your labour.

It’s instructive to note that everyone has greatness living inside of them, however, the challenge most of us have is not being able to activate the greatness. Taking the first step is the foundational step to greatness. It’s sad to see people who want to be great, but they are scared of taking the heat Greatness does not come from a place of comfort.

A great factor necessary for greatness to take shape is courage. Per Apostle Joshua Selma, “courage is not outsourced, it is generated.

He further stated that “behind every genuine result you see, there’s a testament of endurance and courage.  You must date to succeed despite glaring failures staring at you.

Great people dare the consequences of what people will say. They are not scared of failing. They are not scared of walking alone. They are not scared of risking their lives to birth their vision. Research has it that Charles Leiper Grigg failed 6 times before he succeeded at the seventh time and he nailed the product, 7UP, meaning that he succeeded at the 7th time.

The first step in succeeding is very critical, and in most cases, it is the most important step. The first step is like the foundation of a building. The first step is like the first appearance. The first step is like your resume/curriculum vitae.

Without the first step, every other act is like putting the cat before the horse. Let’s take some practical examples, before a man wins the heart of a lady, he must take the first step in talking to her. Before a person becomes a celebrated author, he must have taken the first step to write the first set of words. Before someone becomes the President of a country or even serves in any elective position, he must have taken the first step in buying the form. Before someone gets a job, he must have taken the first step to apply. Before a mentee gets accepted by a mentor, he must have taken proactive steps to reach out. The list is literally endless.

Amid all these, one thing is certain, one must eliminate fear if one is desirous of taking the first step. Fear hinders one from taking the first step. It would be foolhardy to say we have not experienced fear in our daily lives. I have personally experienced the fear of the unknown. I can vividly remember when I was writing my first book, in all sincerity, I didn’t know what I was writing. I had to reach out to a couple of friends and mentors to review the work, some said just continue, some said, when you are done, the editors will review it. I was literally wondering how my work will be received by the public. Being a first-time author was no joke, but the good part is, the book came out as a resounding success.

The role of the first step in my life cannot be overemphasized. Most of the big accomplishments I was privileged to overcome were simply because I took the first step even when I was not prepared for the task or journey. I vividly remember when I joined the Nigerian Lawyers Association while studying Taxation Law in New York School. In all honesty, I was not prepared to occupy the position. I simply decided to test my faith. I literally failed and learnt on the job, but the interesting perspective to the job was the inherent opportunity that came with the job. The position exposed me to lots of High-Profile people I have access and relate with closely. Imagine if I have not taken the first step; I won’t know most of the people I have access to today.

According to an accomplished Ghost writer, Dr. Yomi Garnett, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great. If you have a rather big goal. Today take the biggest possible step in the direction of its fulfillment. If the step looks relatively tiny, do not worry if it’s the biggest possible for now.

In as much as it’s advisable to get prepared before you take an opportunity, however, there’s an exception to the rules, sometimes, you don’t have to have everything figured out before you take the first step, you just have to take the risk and, in most cases, it turns out good. Even if it turns out negative, you didn’t fail, rather, you learn from an experience.

In conclusion, do you have a project you would like to accomplish? If yes, take the first step. Don’t be afraid of the challenges, obstacles and forces that are likely to rear their ugly heads.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s the founder of Gloemi. He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate, creative writer and author of Design Your Destiny Design Your  and Unleash Your Destiny .  He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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