Can Listening Kickstart Happiness, Leadership and Success?

Can Listening Kickstart Happiness, Leadership and Success?
© Irene Becker | | QBLOG

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What does listening have to do with happiness, leadership and success? A great deal.  True listening is not the manifestation of judgment, comparison, criticism or complaint.  It is one of the greatest sources of validation we can give to another person, and it is our most powerful source of self reflection and growth. And, listening is one of our most important and powerful communication and leadership skills

While we all like to think that we are listening, many times we are not. Listening is a learned skill. Our brains are set to focus on the negative first, and as such it is easy to put on the ugly tight black hat of judgment and comparison before the first syllable is out of the speaker’s mouth.  We often do not listen.  Rather, we just hear what we expect, what we want or what we presume will be said.  The greatest misunderstandings, the most terrible emotional pain resides in the dimension of conversations that were heard but not listened to, in the spaces between the words that were presumed to be heard or understood.

Hearing is a given for most of us, but true listening is not. It requires the time and the patience to pause, remove judgment, remove comparison and just reflect on what the other person is saying.  When we are able to open our ears, our mind and our heart, we are able to listen and in so doing we are giving and receiving the gift of connection.

The gift of connection is one of the most important and powerful gifts that we can give another human being and our self. No matter how seemingly important or unimportant the conversation is, we can always try to connect with another person at a fundamental level of personal validation and respect.

Most of us had few models, few teachers in the art of listening. Rather we made the leap from infancy to childhood to adolescence and adulthood under the tutelage of adults whose tight black hats of judgment and comparison were glued to their heads  and often precluded their ability to truly listen.  We all know the deep sense of self doubt and invalidation that crept onto our emotional highway when we were not truly listened to. We can choose to remember the pain of invalidation before we choose not to truly listen to another.

The power that is revealed when we truly learn to listen is manifold. Because in learning to listen to another, in stretching our muscles of communication and connection, we also regain the ability, the power to listen to our true needs, feelings and to move beyond judgment and comparison to hear our true voice as well as the voice of others.

We can reach past personal limitations and truly listen. We are born with the ability to develop our listening, communication and leadership skills. We are born with the ability to listen, work and lead happier and better!

© Irene Becker,

2 replies
  1. Simon Harvey
    Simon Harvey says:


    So well put, how right you are. Listening as you point out is a powerful sense and skill. An unfortunate thing is that I have found is it is not taught in schools, or at least not in my day. I have heard the words “shut up” too many times around the young to realize that too many people do not understand how to listen, and so the blind continues to lead the blind.

    Great leaders like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Lincoln and many more, managed great things through the power of listening.

    For me listening is not about waiting to hear a noise, it is about closing down the rest of my self to the constant noise around and within me, and opening up an audience within me. It is there that while I stand aside and hold the curtain open, the words, emotion, smell, senses, are all receive by my audience within. One that I respect, listen and learn from, self awareness.

    There is no greater power than silence, and to understand that you have to listen to it. Cutting out sound is not listening, you must hear silence, as you must be awake to meditate. It is a heightened sense of awareness that silence brings, and it is that silence that you must find within yourself to truly listen to others and hear what they mean (as you point out), not just what they say.

    Listening is part of a system (like ,crawl,walk,run), and we must first listen to ourselves so that we may start to understand ourselves. Then we can pull that curtain to self awareness back and really listen within, reflect on not only what is being said, but on what we hear, feel and see; sense. If we have gained a good sense of self-awareness, judgment has long been banished from this audience and we will listen and learn. As only 7% of communication is thought to be from spoken words, then to communicate to any level of success we must learn to be listening aware.

    As you say “We are born with the ability to reach past personal limitations and truly listen.” But just as we are born to walk, talk and run, listening must be learnt, practiced, and practiced, and practiced, if we are to master it. It is a skill, and you can become a master at it, but it must be continually practiced, as even a master never stops learning.

    Thanks for the thought inspiring post.I truly Loved it.


    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Dear Simon: Thank you for your very wise comments about my post, about listening, leadership and life’s potential. Reading your beautiful comment, your prose was a gift. I would be honored if you would like to do a guest post on my blog.

      Thank you so very much for your appreciation, your kindness and for doing your utmost to leadfrom within. Awesome!

      Yours in service, Irene


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