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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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ASUU, Minister’s Two Weeks Ultimatum and Buhari’s Silence

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By Eric Elezuo

Two schools of opinion were formed on July 19, 2022, when President Muhammadu Buhari, like one who woke from debilitating slumber, gave the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, a two weeks ultimatum to resolve the lingering strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The strike, called since January, 2022, is in its seventh month.

On one hand, the first school of opinion rejoiced that at long last, the president many has seen as completely lackadaisical and nonchalant about the events in the country, has finally taken a decisive step to arrest the excesses of both his administration and the lecturers in scuttling the educational advancement of hapless Nigerian students while their own children study unhindered in various high profile schools abroad.

The second of opinion had shrugged their shoulders in resignation, knowing that the threat was just what it was – a threat without an adjourning or commensurate firepower. They have concluded that the verbal pronouncement was another exercise in futility as the president has either lost the capacity to enforce discipline, or has never mustered the courage to lead from the front.

However, close to four weeks after the ultimatum, and two weeks after the ultimatum expired, nothing in the air shows that an ultimatum was ever given. The Minister of Education has continued to resume in his office in his capacity as Minister, the ASUU teachers are still sleeping through lecture periods, while students continue to hover around television and radio channels and newspaper stands to get a feel of the next line of action. In short, nothing has happened, and Buhari has remained mute.

A lot of observers has wondered if the executive president has suddenly become a toothless bulldog, or why was it that the honorable minister failed to act on the pronouncement of Mr President.

It would be recalled that Adamu has not been in the forefront of finding a solution to the ravaging imbroglio in the university education sector. His deputy, Emeka Nwajiuba, who has resigned from the job to pursue his botched presidential ambition, was the link to the resolution, with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige. Many still do not know who the Minister of Education is. One of his appearances, if not the only appearance, was hosting a detachment of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) executives, where the meeting ended with him walking out on the delegates.

One continues to wonder if the government of Nigeria is not that of lawlessness at the moment or subjected to rudderless status as no one listens to or obeys superior authority or why would the Minister fail to adhere to the president’s ultimatum. There has been no recorded meetings called ever since Buhari’s two weeks ultimatum. That’s an affront, and not acceptable.

Buhari, on his part, has carried on like the minister, as if nothing happened. He has allowed the minister unhindered access to his office, and remained deaf to the yearnings of Nigerian youths and their parents who are the direct victims of the crisis.

At the maiden Special Convocation Ceremony and conferment of Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Maiduguri on Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi, held on August 12, 2022, Buhari, through his representative, Alhaji Ibrahim Gambari, made a clawless plea to ASUU to call off the strike with no mention of the ultimatum given to minister a few weeks ago. That’s how weak and insensitive the administration has become.

If the education minister has lost the willpower or idea to find a resolution, he should toe the path of honour and throw in his towel, especially as he has shunned the president’s ultimatum.

If Mr president on the other hand has lost the influence over his subordinates, he should as well ‘step aside’ for a fresh lease of administrative prowess into the body polity.

The Nigerian education system is in squalor, and the ASUU has become a nail driven deep into a maggot infested wood.

Buhari should do the needful, and urgently too, and sack those that need to be sacked, or in the alternative, bow out himself. Nigerians are tired of mediocrity at all levels

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Food for Living: Overcoming Life’s Test

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

Uncertainty is the name of life’s great journey, as it is almost impossible to predict what tomorrow holds in stock for everyone. In the same vein, no one can confidently say they are guaranteed life the next day, or can confidently say they are infallible.

As human beings, there is an element of failing because no one is perfect, but the good thing about failing in life is that it makes one humble, in addition to teaching lessons if you are alert enough to pick them up from the experience. Everyone is programmed to be tested in one way or another.

A student applying for any form of admission must undergo some academic test; a job seeker applying for a job must surely pass through some written or oral test; a single hoping to get married must surely pass through a form of test before the partner can accept them. Even when they are married, the marriage must surely be tested.

Life, no doubt, is full of tests. Friendships must be tested, employees must be tested in other to be promoted, passion, leadership, character, and even marriage experiences are tested. The list is literally endless. It is noteworthy that all these tests are not meant to make one fail, but to express one’s strength, integrity, knowledge, personality, among others.

According to philosophers, there are two certainties in life; death and payment of taxes. However, I will beg to add one more, and that is we all must make a choice and decision in life. This choice must also be tested. These tests are bound are bound to define us depending on how we approach them. For example, a politician, who promises to provide valuable services to the community, if elected, can be praised or condemned for his words depending on his performance.

Life is a test of seeing how a person will react to the various situations they will encounter. Sometimes, we boast of our abilities to stand in the face of challenges. For instance, a man might boast he can never hit a woman, but he might be surprised to see himself in a strange situation where he may knowingly or unknowingly hit a woman due to anger, provocation, or as an act of self-defense. One thing is certain, circumstances don’t say who you are, they reveal who you are.

The tests of life come in different stages and areas. Our goal is to endeavor to overcome each challenge that poses as a threat to us. If we are able to overcome the test, we are likely to scale through the next stage of life. For instance, a student must pass his exams before being promoted to the next class, just like an employee must pass his prospective probative test to become a permanent employee.

Life tests can be either negative or positive. When it is negative, one is brought down from grace to grass, while a positive test can be used to rise from grass to glory. To know how a negative test works, someone in authority like a politician or a king can be dethroned for acts of infidelity. A positive can be defined as a test that helps you to become your highest self. A positive test plays out when someone with a humble background is given an opportunity to serve and he has the opportunity to embezzle resources in his possession, but he refuses. He can be promoted to a higher authority. Alternatively, when someone refuses to play to a particular script that is capable of reducing him because of his integrity, he is bound to be elevated when the dust is clear.

Another way life tests a human being can be seen from the perspective of a budding or enterprising entrepreneur. It is easy for one to say, I am passionate about my business or a particular cause, such interest can only be displayed when the lines are not falling in place. When you believe in your product or service, regardless of the challenge you see, you won’t be deterred

As you go forward in life, know that your passion, interest, loyalty, knowledge, personality, and faith will be tested, and when that happens, do not be deterred, just see it as a stepping stone to move to the next stage of accomplishment.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the 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 and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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Food for Living: Your Blessing is in Your Hands

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By Henry Ukazu

Dear Destiny Friends,

One of the world’s favourite singers, Teddy Pendergrass, in one of his hit tracks, It’s so good loving somebody when somebody loves you back, posited that one of the best feelings in life is to have a requited love; to be loved by the person you love. The feeling is unimaginable by every standard. Without mincing words, there is an uncommon strength love gives us. When there is mutual love among couples, they are bound to attract unimaginable blessings.

This article, however, is not about love per se, rather, love is used here to show how blessed we are when we have people who genuinely love us for who we are, despite our limitations. For instance, the love of a child by her mother is priceless.

When we talk of blessings, most times we think the creator of the universe will come down from heaven and bless us, we fail to understand that human beings are the real blessings. Someone once jokingly said, if God wants to bless you, he sends a man/woman to bless you, but if the devil wants to destroy a man, he visits him with a woman. The morale of this story is that human beings can either make or mar you. You cannot underestimate the importance of having the right people in your life, especially if you are married, have a business, or working on a project.

Sometimes, we think opportunities will come from heaven, but the truth is that the opportunity we seek is right in our hands. Sometimes, we think human beings will come through to us just because we are in need. The truth is that it is very rare to see people who can assist others without demanding anything in return. In most cases, people will only give you money when you have value, in terms of a product or service, to offer them.

It is imperative to note that one of the killers of opportunity is the poverty mentality. This is the major reason most people lose opportunities. These set of people think blessings, favours, opportunities and many more will come to them, they fail to understand that it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes, you will have to go out to search for the opportunities that is obviously searching for you.

Let me share a personal story. A couple of years ago, a young man named Sodeeq Abdulakeem Sulyman reached out to me via twitter to be his mentor after reading one of my articles. I felt honored, but was curious to know why he reached out to me, he said he has been reading my article and saw consistency in addition to the attitude and mindset I use to write, and that it appealed to his values. I gladly accepted the opportunity to add value into his life. It may interest you to know that this young man proved to be an exceptional being. It didn’t take long to make him the Chief Operating Officer of my company (GLOEMI). The interesting thing about this relationship is that we have worked on several projects, and we now work like a family. If this young man didn’t reach out to me via twitter, who knows if our paths wouldn’t have crossed. Do you see that your blessings are in your hands? You can apply the same strategy to win people.

Most times, we look for people to give us work, connect us to a resourceful person or even mentor us. The mistake we make is we don’t take time to add value to our lives. When you add value to your life, it will be easier for people to locate and connect with you. Value can be academics, skill, information, networking, right attitude or understanding.

Let’s take a case study of understanding. There was a story of two wealthy men who were taking a walk, Mr. A saw a poor man and said to Mr. B, let’s help this man, Mr. B said, it makes no sense because this man is not interested in anyone assisting him. If you help today, tomorrow he’ll return to this position. Mr. A said, he’ll give it a shot. He called the poor man and told him he’ll give him bread and that he should eat the bread alone. The man agreed. The rich man went to the bakery and told the pastry chef to add a $10 million check inside the bread and he gave it to the man. The man went home and informed the wife of what happened, the wife was happy he came back with a nice, delicious bread, but she queried him saying, only him can’t eat the bread alone when he has a family. All effort to make the woman understand proved abortive. They began to raise their voices and one of their neighbours heard the noise and asked if everything was okay, they explained the situation to the man, out of pity, the man bought the bread from them at a decent price since he observed they needed money and the wife was happy. When their neighbour went home, he was happy to see a $10million check and he quickly cashed the check and didn’t inform the couple.

On a subsequent day, this poor man was back on the street looking for support, the wealthy man saw him again and asked him if he ate the bread alone, he explained to the man what happened. The wealthy man told him he’ll give him another chance but this time around, he sternly warned him not to share the bread with anyone. The poor man was happy for the second chance, and promised he won’t share the break with anyone. When he arrived home, he explained to the wife what happened. But the wife wouldn’t accept the excuse which led to an altercation. Their neighbour came around and asked what’s the issue again, the couples explained their side of the story to the neighbor. The neighbor offered to pay double of the price he bought the first bread, the man refused, and the wife was infuriated. The neighbour increased the price again and again and the man refused, the wife out of annoyance accepted the money and told their neighbour to take the bread. Guess what, this time, there was a $20million check in the bread. The point of this story is that whatever we are seeking is also seeking us. The poor man lost a golden opportunity because of the poverty mentality.

Just like your life is in your hands, your blessings are in your hands. Therefore, take time to evaluate the people in your life, the strangers you meet on the street and the information circulating around you. In all these, if you can manage and nurture them, you’ll attract the desired blessings because success in life is more of a strategy as opposed to hard work.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the 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 and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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