This is why good listeners are more successful

Goodmorning Planet,

How are you? I am doing great.

I have a question to ask. What do you understand by “listening”?

The textbook definition suggests – give one’s attention to a sound.

Is that what listening means to you? 

As we have been told multiple times, hearing means we are in an auto-pilot mode. We are gathering sounds around us but not attentively. While listening is the act of hearing carefully, wherein we devote our self to the source of a sound entirely.

To further simplify, listening makes our lives a little better because when we listen, we are present in a conversation.

We are present in the moment.

We are not lost in a past memory or dreaming of a future event.

We are there, in – NOW.

Being present in a moment changes our life for the better. And that is our topic of discussion for the day.

You don’t listen.

We don’t listen.

We don’t listen as individuals.

We don’t listen as collective units.

Your mother doesn’t listen.

Your siblings are never paying attention.

Your friends pretend to listen as they have their own stories to tell.

Your local politician doesn’t listen.

Your government doesn’t listen.

Your prayers are unanswered.

Your sobs get wasted.

Your cries get muffled. 

All in all, nobody cares about your yap.

We don’t listen. We wait for our turns to speak. 

That’s the only reason we go through this charade of pretending to listen to what the other person has to say.

And I totally get it!

I am not holding you accountable for being a poor listener. Listening isn’t an easy task for anyone. The more chaotic your mind is, the harder it will be for you to listen. 

Listening doesn’t come naturally to us.

We are no longer trained to observe silence, pay attention to essential and non-essential sounds.

If you compare data from the ’70s, you will see a sharp spike in the overall noise levels in the entire galaxy. We are producing tons of megahertz of noise every second. 

With abundant chaos environing us, it is impossible to differentiate between essential and non-essential blabber. So, we decided to shut everything out.

We are no longer stuck in a hunter-gatherer setup. We do not have to spend hours in peace and quiet, relying on our listening abilities to sense the footsteps of an approaching predator.  

We are god-fearing people.

We believe in rituals and worshiping deities.

We visit places of worship to share our list of expectations with our gods very frequently.

Even when we are clueless about our desires, we always have a list of essential objects which we share with our supreme being, hoping that he will assist us and make the pursuit easy.

Ever wondered why all of your prayers go unanswered?

Simply because no one is listening!

The god you are praying to doesn’t lie in a place of worship. It lies within you. It continuously speaks to you. Lays down paths for you to walk.

You never hear him, because you have lost your ability to listen to those voices/sounds/patterns. Now, the profound art of listening has been degraded to a base level communication where a speaker will share his so-called vital feelings, and the listeners will wait for their turns to speak.

This is what listening has been reduced to. 

We no longer listen to ourselves.

We do not listen to our bodies.

We do not listen to our minds.

We do not listen to our soul.

We do not listen to this planet.

We do not listen to the universe.

And, we are least bothered to listen to what the other person is saying.

For centuries we have relied on listening to reveal hidden patterns around us and simplify our lives.

Not anymore!

Now we have degraded ourselves to a big chunk of fart machines. 

We don’t talk. We don’t speak. We don’t communicate. We fart!

That’s all we do – generate incomprehensible unpleasant noises.

We fart!

Today, we will discuss the importance of listening in improving the quality of your life and the lives of the people around you. 

We will begin with the first event which occurred in this universe.

The BIG BANG!

For fuck’s sake, the very first event is named – The Big Bang!

I don’t think I need to emphasize the importance of listening when the event, which resulted at the beginning of our stories, is described as a loud noise.

The universe spoke. We listened. Life began.

Centuries passed by, we lost the art of listening. Now, we are miserable, suffering deeply, always in pain.

A simple act of listening attentively can magically transform our lives.

How?

That’s what we will explore today.

Somewhere in the middle of 2017, I used to own an art studio in the heart of Delhi – Malviya Nagar. A few months ago, my debut novel – Broken Radio – had released. I was living a dream life, hoping that this will be a new beginning. 

For the first time in my life, I was appreciated for my words and thoughts.

Before becoming an author, in my previous roles, I was recognized several times, either because of my skills to drive results or my ability to meet deadlines. However, writing is an altogether different ecosystem.

When it comes to any form of art, there are no set metrics on which you can be judged. 

Even art schools do not grade students on a long list of set parameters.

Art is extremely personal. 

I remember an episode of Seinfeld. If you haven’t ever watched Seinfeld, you must. It is one of those brilliant comedies which won’t just make you go ROFL but also uplift you as a person. It is an excellent piece of work by renowned comedian Jerry Seinfeld. 

In Seinfeld, we have a unique character named Kramer.

Kramer is either an eccentric genius or maybe just some ruffian bottomfeeder, depends on your outlook. Now, I am a little foggy on the details, but the way I remember it is either Kramer conned a painter into creating a giant portrait of himself or the painter got mesmerized with Kramer and created one. 

Nonetheless, the outcome is a brilliant painting of Kramer.

When the painting is unveiled to an art patron couple, they have brazenly contrasting views about it.

The women: I sense great vulnerability, a man-child crying out for love, an innocent orphan in the post-modern world.

The man: I see a parasite—a sexually depraved miscreant who is seeking only to gratify his basest and most immediate urges.

And it goes on and on and on….

You might want to watch this tiny clip, laughs guaranteed.

The point I am trying to make is there isn’t a formula to define art. Art is personal, and that applies to any form of art, whether it be music, cinema, painting, poetry. The success of art is based upon audiences’ perception.

Bukowski, the infamous literary avalanche, was considered a fucked up writer with no class. Today, there isn’t a modern piece of art that isn’t inspired by Bukowski in some manner or the other. All of these nihilist heroes (angry young men) whom you adore on the silver screen, smoking, gambling, and wasting their lives away, in love with their pain and suffering, are in some manner or other inspired by Bukowski’s alter ego – Henry Chinaski. 

Dostoyevsky, the genius & the gambler who penned down the most complicated literary works, wasn’t celebrated during his lifetime. So-called literary geniuses weren’t too impressed with his work. They didn’t even enjoy hanging out with him. He wasn’t invited to their grand parties. Now, his work is considered as the most brilliant representation of our inner struggle. Today petty writers like me pray to Dostoyevsky for strength and courage. It takes great courage to rise above our mediocrity, pain, misery, suffering, to create art.

Someone posed a question to Jordan Peterson about how to truly judge art. His response was to wait for a few centuries. If people talked about a piece of work even when centuries have passed, it is truly genius.

So, while being alive, there is absolutely no way to be sure whether what you are creating in the name of art is beauty or just random crap. We need to rely on other people’s feedback to ascertain our worth. Even a flawed writer like me can be proud of his work if there is one single person to whom my work spoke.

If we can touch a single life through our art, it is worth all the pain and suffering.

I try to upload videos frequently on YouTube and my social media channels.

An acquaintance once asked how do I motivate myself to create videos when I only get 100-150 views?

I chuckled. I said 100-150 people are watching my work, listening to me, reading what I write. That matters to me.

For you, its just 150 views.

For me, these are 150 people who have taken out their precious time to interact with something which I created. I feel proud that 150 people watch it. It is an achievement for me. 

It is not about numbers.

It has never been about numbers.

It has always been about influencing lives positively and destroying beautifully decorated chains of slavery.

It’s about liberating the human mind & soul.

It is not about numbers.

That’s not how you grade art.

That’s not why you create art – to get viewership.

You create art because it serves as an escape from your misery.

You create art to breathe, to live, to exist.

It has never been about numbers.

So, once again, there isn’t a formula to define art. Art is timeless.

If my words can transform or help one individual, I consider myself blessed. 

A painting that I admire might be a piece of crap for you. 

A novel that you cherish might be utterly stupid in my understanding.

A poetry which I find profound, you might consider it shallow.

A person whom I regard as a genius might be a pretentious fuck as per you.

An ideology that I find liberating might be constricting per your understanding.

It is all about perspective.

So, coming back to 2017, I had released my book. I leased a building and created a dream art studio for myself. I used to stay in isolation and create art the entire day. On a good day, I wrote a minimum of 7-8 thousand words and destroyed one canvas.

It was an ecstatic experience. 

The only trouble was I felt alone. I was too lonely.

I did have visitors now and then, folks who enjoyed my work. They shared kind words, and I listened attentively to praises.

However, I was least bothered about anything else that anyone said.

If it was about my work, I was all ears.

Anything else was dull woo-woo for me.

Mumbo Jumbo that didn’t deserve my attention.

As weeks passed by, this became my default setting. 

Before this, I was always a good listener. I paid attention. It was never about me blabbering my thoughts. It was about striking a meaningful conversation. 

But now, it became all about myself.

Even if I was listening to others, my mind was busy framing the next set of sentences that I could puke. 

For instance, a friend brought over his colleagues at my place. One of them was a naive 22-year-old guy who was in love with his job and thoroughly enjoyed his high pay scale. He shared details about his career.

A good listener should have appreciated his enthusiasm and acknowledged his journey, maybe wished him good luck for the future. But not me. I wasn’t a good listener then. I had to make everything about myself. 

I began a rant against consumerism and toxic corporate culture. I had no idea the impact my words could have on that poor soul. I wrecked his narrative. I made him feel bad about what he did. I became a bully, then. 

After puking shit out, I felt relieved, but that guy had a bad awakening.

A few days later, I was told that he became depressed and stopped going to work.

I have yet not forgiven myself for being so toxic to someone who deserved a sanctuary.

This is why listening is essential.

If we do not listen and wait for our turns to speak, we are making everything about ourselves. It makes us less considerate to others, unkind to some extent. We get driven by false ego and attempt to uplift ourselves by demeaning others.

It is toxic for us and people around us.

Relationships fail if partners don’t listen to each other.

Companies disintegrate if they do not listen to their consumers.

Work culture turns toxic if leadership doesn’t listen to employees.

Art is worthless if not made while listening to our hearts.

A journalist’s integrity is compromised if he/she doesn’t listen to the truth.

Kids turn into bullies if their parents don’t listen.

Partners cheat because they feel unheard.

Employees leave when they realize there isn’t anyone who is paying attention to what they say.

We change brands if they do not evolve after listening to our feedback.

Our cognitive abilities deteriorate if we do not listen to our thoughts.

This entire universe will collapse if we continue this trend.

We must be better listeners before we can be a better person.

Fortunately, I got back to my old self and started listening again.

Shortly after the incident mentioned above, I packed my bags and left for Kashmir to research for a new book. In Kashmir, I found myself among people who valued the importance of community. Everyone was empathetic to each other’s suffering and always listened to one another. The novelty of the experience shut my mouth and opened my ears.

I was experiencing something which I had only witnessed in a diluted manner on a television screen. Observing first-hand atrocities put me on the back seat, reuniting me with my listening self.

Not everyone gets such second chances. A lot of us spend our lifetimes only hearing and forming our narratives to vomit the next chance we get.

We are so impulsive that we do not even wait for the other person to complete explaining/narrating their side. We like predators, wait for the speaker to take a breath so that we could talk. 

We talk over other people.

We interrupt others.

We barely hear what they say.

We never paraphrase.

All we care for is dominating the conversation.

I remember during my corporate slavery days, whenever I used to approach a leader to share a problem, they made no eye contact. They didn’t interrupt, but we can sense when we are being heard. And I am positive, they were not listening.

In toxic corporate cultures, leaders are coached to nullify an employee’s concern. Acknowledging a concern will require work on their part. And this is no surprise that we do not want to work. Maybe 2% of us do, but 98% of us just want a paycheck. We will get distraught if that doesn’t arrive. 

It won’t matter if we are not delivering results.

What matters for us is to get paid. 

To be successful in any avenue of life, you must listen.

If you want to nurture a relationship, you must listen to your partner.

If you want to raise successful children, you must listen to them.

If you wish to get healthy, you must listen to your body.

If you want to achieve glory, you must listen to your thoughts.

If you want to build an empire, you must listen to your advisors, employees, and consumers.

Even someone as stupid as Trump listens to his advisors.

Authoritarian Modi listens to his parent ideological institution RSS.

If failed individuals can listen, we still have the upper hand.

We haven’t sold our souls yet.

Hope, I made a convincing case.

Before I reveal to you a zillion benefits of listening, let’s decode the art of listening.

First of all, listening doesn’t mean paying attention using your sensory organs. (in this case your ears)

Listening is an art. It involves every fabric of your physical and spiritual being. You will need to be present in the moment to listen.

It isn’t an easy task. That explains why people don’t listen.

How to listen:

There are three stages to listening.

  • Listening To The Speaker
  • Paraphrasing
  • Talking

These three elements combined flawlessly will then reciprocate a healthy conversation.

Let’s understand each element.

Listening To The Speaker

The first step is listening, which means paying attention to the speaker’s words, eyes, expressions, body language, and breathing patterns.

Whenever a person is talking apart from spoken words, there are a bunch of other things you need to pay attention to. Words are easy to catch. Even when distracted or disoriented, chances are pretty high that you will correctly get a gist of what the other person is trying to communicate.

Until and unless you are absent, meaning your physical body is in front of the speaker, but your monkey mind is busy swinging from one branch of thought to the other, you won’t miss much.

But this is where most of us go wrong.

When people communicate honestly, they are not speaking only through words. Their entire body is communicating. They are expressing through their eyes, facial expressions, hands, every part of their body.

They will sway forward when they feel empathetic.

They will bend backward while narrating a horrifying experience.

Their hands will be constrained if they sense an unwelcoming response from the listener.

Their arms would open up in a relaxed manner if the listener’s gaze is affectionate.

A ton of emotions will ooze out from the eyes. 

Eyes are a powerful medium of communication. For centuries we have passed messages just by the movement of our eyes.

Even in regular communication, our eyes can give out a lot.

Our brains are split into two sections – the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere.

Vaguely, the left hemisphere contains memories and logic, while the right hemisphere is the creative side which imagines, a dreamer as some may say!

During a conversation, if a speaker is looking to the left, it indicates they are recalling a real experience. If they are looking towards the right, it suggests that they are adding elements of imagination – in short, they are lying.

I am not claiming, this is a thumb rule. However, multiple researchers agree with this. 

Adding to the eye movement are hand gestures and broken speech (nervousness).

If the speaker takes long pauses or breaks in the middle of the speech, it can indicate that they are unsure of what they are saying.

Similarly, their facial expressions, their muscle twitches, everything points out to something. 

You do not need to train yourself to observe all of this. Ideally, this should be your default setting.

If you are willingly in a conversation, it is highly disrespectful if you do not listen properly. 

You must be present in the conversation with complete silence.

Listen to the other person, observe their mannerisms, their body language. The only action needed from your end is to maintain eye contact and give verbal nods now and then, to reassure the other person of your mindful listening.

You cannot interrupt and say – sorry for the interruption.

It is obscenely rude. 

While listening, you do not have to create narratives inside your head about what you are going to say next. Even if you are in a debate, trying to prove your point, you cannot stop the other person to share your objections.

Hold your horses!

If you have even a shred of respect for your thoughts, you must respect the other person’s outlook also. Please hear them out.

Once the speaker has completed what they wanted to express, the next step will be paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing

We barely paraphrase. High performing individuals paraphrase but not always. Even they paraphrase only when engaged in a scholarly debate or discussion, not in their daily lives. This is where most of us go wrong.

We do not paraphrase.

Whenever someone is narrating a story, presenting their opinion, making a point, if it is not a scripted output, they use a wholesome bouquet of words. Even if it is concise and you feel that you grasped all of it, there is no way to be sure. Therefore, paraphrasing is optimal for your conversations. Else, we will keep on running around in circles, unable to comprehend the essence of each other’s words.

If you paraphrase, not only can you verify whether you correctly interpreted what the other person is trying to communicate, but you also lay the groundwork on which you can start forming your part of the speech. 

There is a universal challenge of articulation. There’s no surprise that we have not only lost the art of listening, but our speech is also compromised. 

We rape words continuously. 

Juggle incomprehensible slangs.

Communicate in broken speech.

Jumble our word order.

Use excessive fillers.

All in all, most of us bark.

A listener’s job is to identify the melody in all that chatter and then comprehend the real meaning. 

Due to such poor articulation by most of us, it is more than essential now than ever to paraphrase; else, we will not understand the core of someone’s speech. 

Wife: I don’t like a bit that you come home late every evening drunk. I do not have groceries for the morning breakfast. I have to wake you up daily and request you to go grocery shopping. While you are out picking groceries because I don’t have much to do, I get anxious waiting for you—that kind of screws up my entire day. I am unable to focus at work, and my boss is not happy with my performance. My life is getting shitty with each passing day.

Husband:

Response 1Should we see a doctor for your anxiety?

Response 2How about we stock groceries for the entire week on Sunday, will that make things better?

Response 3Hmm, if you are not enjoying your job, why don’t you switch to a different company?

Response 4I think we need a baby. You are too lonely.

Response 5What I understand is my alcoholism is driving you crazy. I don’t think it is a healthy practice for me to get drunk every day. Can we talk about this in detail? Maybe I need a little assistance from you to figure out what’s going wrong. Will you help me, please, honey?

Which one of these is the right response?

Yes, you guessed it right. It’s the fifth one!

It’s always us who is at fault. Fixing ourselves can fix everything. 

If you will not paraphrase and jump to your part of the speech, you will never be able to understand the other person’s pain point. You will diminish their argument in your small-mindedness, giving way to alienation and unpleasantness.

Listen attentively.

Paraphrase.

And then talk!

Your speech

After you have attentively listened and paraphrased to understand, comes everyone’s favorite part of the conversation. Now, you are free to talk!

But remember, just because you can talk doesn’t mean you have to.

Most of the conversations do not need much input from your end.

People want to share, and you will be amazed to see how open even strangers can be. 

Speaking is also a manner in which we straighten our thoughts.

A lot many influential speakers do not prepare their talks in advance. They are present in the moment and improvise as per the audiences’ pulse. 

If you do not have anything ultra-relevant to contribute, refrain from speaking just for the sake of it. If you have listened, then you must have identified the goal of the conversation.

Either the person is trying to share their misery.

Or, they will be expressing a moment of profound happiness.

Sometimes, people just talk to kill the silence.

Many times, they are trying to figure out a solution to their problems.

Intellectuals discuss ideas. Such conversations demand your input.

Others just require you to play the role of a listener.

If someone is sharing their misery, you do not need to top their experience with your personal stories.

Woman: Hey, my purse got snatched today morning.

Man: Yeah, we live in a terrible society. You know what happened a year ago. I was coming back from a party at 2 am, and two boys came in front of my car. They wore hoodies and had a baseball bat in their hands. They tried to stop me. I feared for my life. I ran my car over them. I was not going to bow down to hooliganism. (yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap)

Ideally, the person was supposed to probe more details.

Acknowledge.

Empathize.

Maybe talk about the next steps—future strategies to avoid such experiences. But no, we just won’t leave a chance to make everything about ourselves. 

Every conversation needs to be about Me, me, and me alone.

I have been there, done that, hence I speak from experience. 

Guys, you do not have to do so. 

Just listen and listen some more. 

Listening will open you to new possibilities that you never thought existed.

Listening will help you improve current relationships, including your relationship with yourself. 

Listening will help you foster new friendships and bonding.

If you do not listen, you end up missing on so much of life that it is not even worth living. 

We are not unhappy because the world doesn’t listen to us.

We are miserable because we don’t listen to ourselves and others.

Listening can uplift us from our chaotic state to a stable platform.

Here are few never discussed benefits of listening –

  • Listening improves your cognitive abilities.
  • Listening reduces anxiety and stress.
  • Listening helps you to be more mindful of the present.
  • Listening promotes healthy habits.

Listening improves your cognitive abilities

We use our cognitive abilities to deal with the problems we face. We have a very limited daily cognitive bandwidth. If we exhaust it early in the day, our days will appear as an endless ordeal. We need to ensure that we preserve our energy and not expend it unnecessarily. 

Most of our daily lives occur in loops. We do the same set of activities over and over again. With time we develop habits, so, we do not have to invest energy in executing basic tasks. We can then use our cognitive abilities to solve critical issues that can improve our lives and the lives of others. 

Now imagine this.

You are in the habit of making your daily breakfast. You have a set ritual. You chop first, followed by cooking. Suppose one day, your knife loses its charm, and you cannot chop. Now, your mind panics. It is used to operate in a set fashion, and that course is broken. For our minds, this is a significant disruption. It will unleash a storm of anxiety, irritating you to the core. If you are not listening to yourself, you will give in the chaos and either go to work empty stomach or use tons of energy trying to find an alternate. 

This might sound like a petty issue to many of you. But trust me, an anxious mind blows everything out of proportion. I have seen people ruin their days for lesser shit than this. 

However, if you are listening to yourself, you will acknowledge your inner feelings, only to paraphrase and probe yourself – so, what you are saying is my day is ruined because my knife is not sharp enough? That doesn’t sound right. How about I just boil my veggie instead, it would require lesser energy. 

There you go. You solved a problem without banging your head on a wall.

You did not expend your cognitive bandwidth unnecessarily, and you are ready to take on the world. 

Listening is not limited to others. 

It begins at home.

The home of your soul – You.

The first step is to listen to ourselves, acknowledge, and paraphrase. Once you do so, you will see a pattern of panic in your thoughts.

With the right acknowledgment, you can control your feeble self and make it stronger. 

Buddhist monks do not speak. They barely talk.

The reason is their sense of tranquility.

They do not have to chatter endlessly because they can easily sense underlying emotions.

Some people talk when they are sad.

Some when they are nervous.

Some talk to express happiness.

Some to terrorize.

Those who listen to themselves, talk to the higher being inside them.

That being at present is buried beneath tons of subconscious rubble.

You will need to sort it out.

The first step is to listen to your breath.

Your heartbeat.

The sound of your beating heart – lub dub lub dub lub dub dub

Once you are in sync with yourself, you won’t waste in the mindless chatter of imaginary problems. You will listen to what is essential, leading to enhanced cognitive abilities. 

Your focus will improve. You will be more confident. Your productivity will increase—all in all, better cognitive abilities.

Listening reduces anxiety and stress.

Anxiety happens when we are in uncertain waters. Anything which doesn’t have a set outcome sends our mind in panic mode. It starts weaving possible outcomes. There are always a million of those.

So, you imagine countless outcomes of a given event you are involved in.

We also have a negative bias to protect us from danger. Therefore most of these possible outcomes will be negative, further fuelling panic and anxiety.

All in all, this happens because we are not listening to ourselves and others. 

If you listen to others, they often share remarkable insights about their issues. You can very well learn a lot from anyone, even your adversary, if you are paying attention.

If you are carefully listening to your thoughts, not just chasing them, you will develop intuition.

Your subconscious is highly potent and has a binary configuration to solve any problem you might face. But at the same time, you need to identify the right idea.

I create content for a US-based cannabis company.

I am their subconscious.

Whenever they need a creative, I, at least, provide 7-10 options. 

They pick the best one.

In this case, they are you. And your mind is me.

Your mind will continue to give you countless options, and few of them will be apt for a situation, but you need to listen to the way these thoughts feel.

Which one made your stomach ache?

Which one added to your frustration?

Which one made your eyes shine?

Which one made your calves quiver?

Which one made you calmer?

A seemingly tricky path.

An overly complicated way out.

Or a well thought, tough to execute but an intelligent solution.

If you are not listening, you are wasting energy, damaging both your mind and body.

The anxious mind will keep on pumping cortisol (stress hormone) in your veins.

A few minutes later, catastrophic fear will consume you.

Your amygdala (fear sensor) will start throbbing.

Your body will think of it as a sign to fight or flee.

It will begin to pump adrenaline; you won’t be able to sit idle.

You will start shaking your legs, fiddling your fingers, smoking a pack of cigarettes, until you are too exhausted even to think.

Why go through all of this daily?

Save this for the actual crisis. 

Today just listen.

Breathe and pay attention.

Acknowledge, paraphrase, and strategize.

That’s all!

Listening helps you to be more mindful of the present.

Whenever we are not focused on the task at hand, all we do is time travel.

We go back to an incident in the past, whether joyful or depressing, mostly depressing, or we will plan for the unknown future, that too not in a constructive manner.

We are not noting down anything.

We are not preparing a strategy.

It’s mindless strolling.

If we replace this with being in the present, our lives can change for the better.

Imagine you are sitting in a room. But you are not sitting in the room.

You are thinking about a toxic ex. 

How they ruined your life!

Dwelling on it for some time, you start imagining a future with Nargis Fakhri or Sunny Leone. 

You are not in the room.

You need to be in the room.

You need to be in the present.

Try this wherever you are, right now!

Listen to all the sounds around you.

The ticking of the clock.

The electronic hum of the fan or the ac.

The humming sound of your PC’s motherboard.

The non-audible buzz of your phone. 

The sound of the breeze.

You will be surprised to find that once you practice this for five minutes every day – just listening, plain listening, you will stop being a psychonaut.

If you are not worried about the past or the future, you can pay attention to what is essential in the present.

Now look around you, what do you see – Is your room in order?

Is it clean and sorted?

Check those unpaid bills lying in the corner. 

How about you clear them today? They have been pending till long.

What about that book lying on the table. You promised to finish it three weeks ago.

How about you read the book.

Slowly and gradually, as the days will pass, you will not dwell on the past, which doesn’t matter. Or worry about a future you have no control over.

You will start living in the present to its full, making small improvements to yourself and your surrounding, leading to a better future automatically. 

You don’t need to be a pendulum and keep on swinging between the past and the future.

Be here.

Be now.

Be present.

Listen!

Listening promotes healthy habits.

Habits are activities that we do so often that we no longer need to pay any attention to them.

Habits are an excellent way for the mind to preserve precious energy and stabilize the mental spectrum. 

Habits run in an auto-pilot mode needing no assistance from us. 

As much as they are helpful, they can also be toxic in case of bad habits.

Consider smoking, for example.

Countless smokers have no idea what their triggers are or why do they smoke. 

We repeatedly talk about nicotine addiction. We discuss how difficult quitting nicotine smoking is. We have already conditioned ourselves that quitting smoking is an impossible task. Many of us do not even attempt to break free from such toxic habits.

Overthinking is also a toxic habit. So is any sort of addiction.

Once we have mastered the art of listening and we are present in the moment, we will be able to see things that we do not ideally.

We will be able to see how we make our habit of smoking so convenient that it become a natural act.

Smokers always carry smokes and light with them.

If they stop carrying smokes, higher are the chances that their mind won’t send them on an extra stroll of buying cigarettes every time they feel a craving. Many smokers can reduce their smoking just by not carrying with them the medium of their destruction.

If we take the right efforts, we can get rid of any toxic habit.

All we need to do is listen to our bodies.

When we feel a craving to smoke, we start losing focus.

Our heart rate spikes and we feel unable to do anything in the right manner before satisfying this craving first.

Sex addicts often end up having 5-6 intercourses daily to satisfy this feeling.

If we are listening to our bodies, we will be able to hear the rustle of our lungs, which signifies its rotting from within. Every puff of a cigarette makes our chest clogged and breathing heavy.

We never pay attention because we are not in the moment.

We are not listening to our bodies.

If we do, we will realize how much pain our body goes through each time we smoke.

We will sense the loss of energy and the utter wastage of time.

A nicotine addict assumes that all he is losing are 10-15 minutes. But that’s an incorrect assumption. The reality is horrifyingly bleak.

Not only smokers lose precious minutes, but smoking also drains a lot of their energy. Each smoke reduces our work efficiency by 20-25 minutes (also dependent on the diet of the person).

Which means someone who is smoking 8-10 cigarettes every day, is losing somewhere around 3.5 hours daily. This time alone, if invested in self-development, can help anyone reach unscaled heights. 

The same is the case with overthinkers. They spend around 4-5 hours every day dwelling on unimportant thoughts. Even if their thoughts are consumed by something crucial, their problem-solving skills get compromised due to brain exhaustion. The outcome is an utter waste of time and energy. 

Instead of overthinking, if we listen to our inner being who always guides towards the right path, we can solve the most critical issues in minutes.

And like any other skill, you cannot improve your listening overnight. It is going to take time. 

Patience is critical to quit bad habits and instill new ones.

If you wish to live a fulfilling life, better listening skill is a must.

Regular mindfulness practice can assist you in developing and mastering listening to self and others.

Plants talk to you

Breezes have something to say

That bee on the flower hums for you

The flowing river calls your name

The mountains robustly communicate

This whole universe has something to say.

You are missing on life if you are not listening!

Pay attention, buddy.

Relax and listen!

That will be all for the day. My fingers hurt. 

See you next week with a brand new essay.

Please share your feedback and suggestions.

If you think this essay can help somebody get their life in order, I will request you to share it on your social media. But you are free to accept or refuse my request.

Have an explosive day!

Tata.