What are you lending your ears to?

What do you hear at this moment?

The phone that is ringing, a car that is honking, the words exchanged by your colleagues around you or the beep from the printer? Are you listening deep enough to hear the AC in your room or the shuffle of paper or the footsteps of the person who is walking down the corridor near your workstation? It is said that, we are never inattentive.  Our focus is directed by our mind towards our preferences. Some of us who have a higher concentration than others and may often hear a lot more than them. Meditation techniques takes this to a level, where, one can even hear the heart beat.

What is the sole purpose of listening? Should it be directed towards the sound or the silence? How about listening to the silence?  Sounds crazy, isn’t it?

Let’s take a look, at a situation when you are at a meeting. What do you hear? Do you just focus on what is being discussed or there is a voice inside your head, which is constantly speaking in varied tones, different languages, discussing a range of topics? Most of the time, when you are trying to listen to someone, don’t you often get a question in your mind which is in stark opposition to it? If you pay attention, the voice isn’t always yours. It sometimes, tends to belong to the person who is supposed to ask you that question. Hence, at this point of time in the meeting when you have a list of discussions running through your head, why is there a parallel voice, a devil’s advocate running at the same time?

Quantum physics says there is a space between even the closest object. In the same view let’s consider the silence between the two sounds inside your head? Why do we need to run this exercise? Well, we are programmed through our upbringing and education, therefore we have formed our opinions, beliefs and paradigms based on this acquired knowledge. It may not be easy for us to segregate them in a busy life. However, mapping the thoughts would allow us to understand the relation between them. Consequently, we respond instead of reacting. The meeting in which you are being accused of non-performance or where the errors made by your team are being discussed, is one where you need to respond.

Hear your thoughts when you receive praises and how buoyant you feel. Is there just a ‘Yay’ shouting inside your mind? Alternatively, there are other words such as ‘look, I did it’, ‘I knew I will make it’, ‘ beware everyone, here comes me’ or even a ‘now, don’t you dare mess with me’ Observe the sound and voice. Is it your voice? Or does it belong to the person from whom you expect some thing or at least want to be acknowledged? It’s important to notice who is talking to you inside your head at different points of time.

Now step back into the meeting and identify the source of those voices inside your head. Ignoring them would result in recurrence, until you pay attention. Hence, acknowledge them clearly and then park them aside to be dealt with later. Now focus on the discussion by your fellow attendees. Listen to what they say without making any judgements or tagging them to different compartments. Accept it as a human tendency to draw conclusions immediately. Halt, resist jumping the gun What you hear from your colleagues is just the tip of the iceberg. If you allow yourself to be conditioned at an early stage, you will miss the development and the big picture. Your experience and maturity have been programmed to identify patterns and segregate them into compartments. Let that happen, still choose to remain unaffected by it. Observe complete objectivity, until you have every data that you would require for decision making. 99.99% of the times, the thought that struck you at the first moment will stand true. However, remaining objective will enable a conscious decision making. Here ‘conscious’ implies being aware of the other parties much more than what your presumption would have allowed you to. Thus, it would become a higher order execution. It would then enable the start of a non-argumentative discussion. Consequently it will cut down the drama from your life.

During a presentation, you must have seen it repeatedly, that few members tend to fall out of the group. Why does it happen? What are they listening to when you are presenting? Even without exchanging any words, did you hear the same questions inside your head, which is why you could identify them as the ones falling out and have an idea, as to why it happened? Let’s see how does this works in a stress situation. Here’s a question asked by R. Joshi to the article Survival Strategies; Sink or swim.

“I would like to ask one question. When you are continuously not been valued, you may motivate yourself for some time.  However, how would you sustain, when you run out of your inner motivation?”

Replacing an external reaction by focusing on inner growth, may initially seem to be a neutral stage. Ekhart Tolle, discussed that, a neutral state doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It only means that you refuse to react. You halt and focus internally to check how you can turn it in a better direction. Here’s my experience while working on this principle. I used to prepare Power Point Slides for a reporting manager, who would give odd and negative feed backs about my skills. He used to make fun of my skills in front of others. It used to run me down and rob my sense of self-efficacy which made me sulk a lot. Then, I decided to brush my skills and enrolled for Presentation skills grooming program. It did not give me, any reward or any special recognition. My boss remained apathetic to all my efforts. However, during a town hall, to my surprise, I found him presenting the Power Point Slides prepared by me. Eventually, as my career progressed, I graduated into different roles with other organizations. Today, even though, there are no professional bindings, he still keeps in touch with me. The choice to listen to my surrounding accentuated into a neutral response externally, followed by a personal development. This earned me respect, strengthening my relationship with peers and other superiors in that office. Today when I look back, I can only see rich takeaway with added certification for presentation skills and a respectable relationship with seniors.

We are barely silent, inside our heads.  Tense moments, attenuates to this sound getting louder and coarser. During such situations, we need to program ourselves to listen to our surroundings, to know what will work for us in the long term. There is a statement that goes in my mind, when I hear it during such time, “I think I can. I can. I can. I know I will. I will, I will!” Just as, in the scheme of things, what is unbearable at a particular point of time, will soon cease to have any meaning. Similarly, sounds seamlessly transform to abundant variants creating echelons of responses.

So what are you listening to now?

  • Saleh Zahrani

    I like it ..

  • Thankyou Saleh. You made my day !

  • Seema Balakrishnan

    I think, I can. I can. I can. I know, I will. I will. I will. Definitely should be one’s anthem at the work place.

  • You made my day ! Hope it works as much as it worked for me. God bless you.

  • Iqbalfateh

    Hi Nabomita

    Very nice I agree with this

    Thanks & Best Regards

  • Thank you Iqbal for making my day ! Truly appreciate your words.

  • Ankit

    Its actually a fact which everyone faces in their corporate life….Many ofthem get demotivated because of the negative behavior / feedbacks from the senior colleagues….

    Very Good article..Hats Off….

  • Sultanitp

    “…..a neutral state doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It only means that you refuse to react.” It was a good idea.
    Stephen Covey (7 Habits) also mentioned about choosing our response before we react.

  • Sanikopp


  • Thankyou Sultan ! True to your word, use any strategy to ensure the result is what you want .

  • Thankyou Ankit ! We human beings end up as ‘Human Doings’, if we continue to stay affected by our environment.

  • Thankyou Iqbal, Appreciate your kind words !

  • Hello !

  • S_birjepatil

    I agree, you should not respond immediately, listen carefully and choose your response.

  • Samina

    Good one.

  • Thankyou Samina !

  • Respond and not react to our surrounding holds the key to success!

  • Moin Khan

    A very inspiring article Thanks!

    Moin Khan

  • Thankyou Moin !


    The subject has been a resourceful thought and idea generation. The subject also impresses one, particularly the practicing HRs at all levels, that the ‘ Power Of Listening ‘ is by itself, quite a positive trait. It’s more perhaps that, this is the reason as to why the self-spirituality at one’s work place, guides him/her to realize that, ‘ The God ‘ has given us two ears to listen, and a single mouth to say.

    But then again, it’s for the individual to best discern, which should precede the other i.e listening or saying, on a developing situation.

    Thanks for the author and all colleague participants, for stimulating this ‘ Think Tank ‘


    Wonderful and timely write up.Most of us hardly listen but react in haste creating damages through WORDS. The write up has a key message.

    Dr. H.K.LakshmanRao

  • Hklrao

    DR. H.K.,Lakshmanrao
    hklrao @gmail.com

  • Chawlamamta01

    many a times it becomes just a formality to attend the meetings and presentation and most of time listeners are self occupied in the web of the thoughts.. the article is helpful to come out of that.. thnks for sharing your way of handling it

  • Thank you Dr. Rao. Its always an honor to hear from you. Your words inspire us to work harder and write better.

  • You made my day ! Truly appreciate your kind words. If I am correct , your name means non- duality of reality . True to your name, your review to my article stands an adage. Thank you so much for sharing them.

  • Dear Mamta,
    My next article to be published is on enhancing learning skills. Please do share if it works for you. I will look forward to hear from you.

  • Dear Dr. Rao,

    Please share your experience from your training programs. I am sure, you will have many. It would be a learning opportunity for us to hear from you. I thank you in anticipation.


  • Umesh.G.Chavan

    Inspiring article nicely written. keep up the good work Ms Nabomita
    The question asked by R. Joshi.
    “When you are continuously not been valued, you may motivate yourself for some time. However, how would you sustain, when you run out of your inner motivation?”
    The answer to this is develop the self. If we can deal with the pair of opposites with equanimity this should not affect us. Remeber a tree with deep roots is never affected by thaw of the winter.
    Think Positive & Reap Benefits.
    When Buddha was asked how to sustain a positive attitude towards those who bear ill-will, he answered: “If you don’t take the ill will people intend to inflict upon you, then that remains with them & you stay unaffected.”
    In two ways a person can remain uncontaminated by negativity: By physically or mentally disassociating the self from undesirable vibrations through practice, penance & austerity, achieving a mental state of detachment & dispassion. The second option is: By inculcating positive values, by broadening one’s attitude, perception & mindset.
    Positive people are strongly rooted in the original nature or qualities or religion. Nothing can uproot them from their position of peace, tranquility & equanimity by virtue of which they remit strong vibrations of spiritual energy, solace, bliss & contentment. The power of positivity is not god gifted or which can be attained by the chosen few. Rather it is the innate nature or the quality of the self in every human being which can be brought to the fore through proper & regular cultivation & practice of our rich & ancient spiritual knowledge, meditation on one’s inner self.
    From introspection & meditation, the eight main positive powers emerge & flourish in the self.
    These are the power of tolerance, adaptability, discernment, decision making, courage, cooperation, patience & humility which are essential to realize & restore holistic health, harmony & happiness in our life.
    I have faced this challenge for the period of two years.
    When I go to sleep I impress on my screen for health wealth & success. The result is I have come out of the woods with similing face.

  • Dear Umesh,
    Thank you for sharing such an enlightening information.Your words have not just added value to my work, but inspired me endlessly, to work harder. Thank you so much for sharing them. You made my day. God bless you !

  • Anshuman Bhattacharjee

    I believe that we are all “students” of others needs.Listening helps us to understand such needs better. So better solution can be offered. Moreover, it always shows that we are respecting the speaker.

  • Thankyou Anshuman, I appreciate and second your views. We should speak less and hear more , which is why we have two ears and one mouth !
    This article is an effort to ensure that we hear the right sounds, both inside and outside our heads. Most of the time , listening to the conversations inside our heads, make us miss out on the important discussions happening around us.
    This gets accentuated under a stress situation , where we may tend to lose our bearing until and unless we have trained ourselves to listen to the right sounds!

  • Rajansundar1

    very good, but i also come across people who have done this a little too much and get into the problem of ‘seeing the seer’ we need to also miss ourselves, that is equally a prerogative.

  • Mainpal pilania

    very nice article. thanks

  • What an observation ! Thank you so much for sharing them. You made my day !!

  • Thankyou so much Manipal, your words are deeply appreciated !

  • VidyaBalaji

    Thought provoking Stuff!!

  • Thankyou Vidya ! Appreciate your words .

  • Data entry india

    Great post! you have some brilliant contents!

  • Seena

    Nice article…