“You do not have to be ill to get better.”
- Eric Berne
Midlife does not have to be associated with crisis, you can enjoy a midlife full of graceful encounters if you learn the art of listening.
Over the last 15 years, I have studied strategy, human resources, and midlife encounters and I have come to learn a lot based on knowledge, stories, correction, observations, and experiences. My work as a human resource professional, consultant, and professional trainer led me to engage with over 100 start-ups and the going-concerns raised have given me insight into what works and what might not work in situations, organisations and people’s lives.
My work has taken me across extreme cultures from Mumbai to Munich, from Aberdeen to Abuja, from Kampala to Kent, from Abu Dhabi to Lome. I have come to realize after meeting people across these cultures that “people are basically the same” and “people want basically the same things.” The fundamental stories around people are family, love, work, aspiration, God, culture, and money. The hopes, dreams, challenges, and stories have deep similarities. People want improved lives, better family structures, good health, and good meals in a peaceful environment. The expressions and approach are different culturally but the needs are the same.
It is time to stop running through life, stop running the daily cycles and stop racing to nowhere. Stop and listen to your inner self, stop and determine your hopes, aspirations, and dreams, your needs and concerns.
Stop and listen to the rhythm and the words of the music coming from the wind, listen to the sound of your silence. Stop and listen to the rain drops, listen to the birds, and listen to your heart beat.
What do you really want out of life?
Take a moment and step away from social media, step away from hangouts, conflicts, and debates. Make the most of this time to listen and communicate with yourself. Holidays, travel, nature works are good but stop and listen to yourself even if you take a trip. You will need to stop and listen to yourself.
Listen for who you have become and listen for what you are fighting against.
Listen for inspirations and aspirations, and listen for your hurts, pain and regrets.
Listen for your joy and happiness, and listen for your rage and revenge.
Listen for your love and friends, and listen for your enemy and vibes of hate.
Listen for clarity and listen for confusion.
Connect with you and check-in with you. It is time to watch your own movie-drama.
“As a man thinks within his heart, so his life appears”
What are your daily thoughts? What goes on in your mind? What are the ponderings of your heart?
On one of my trips to Mumbai, our Indian partner asked me a profound question that left me in deep thought.
He asked - “In what language do you think?”
I thought about his question for a few minutes, actually trying to listen to my thoughts, and discover what language I was using to think.
Then he said to me, “Take your time and observe, take time to listen to yourself.”
I took time out to sit back and reflect deeply on this conversation.
I have the privilege of speaking Yoruba and English and can communicate fairly well with both, so over the 3-month period, I found a pattern to my thinking in both languages.
When I am deeply spiritual and worshipping God, I think of the awesomeness of God in Yoruba - some words are just vivid in yoruba. For example; “Alagbada Ina” which means “To be clothed with fire.”
When I think about correcting myself, upholding my moral principles, judging myself, I also think and talk to myself in Yoruba because of the deep expressions from my cultural background that carry weight and glory. It takes carefully listening to yourself to discover that there are patterns and begin the process of uncovering why.
The language you “think in” affects the images and stories formed in your mind. As you become more aware of yourself, your patterns, your images and stories, you will be able to stop, listen, and change yourself.
How can you improve your active listening to yourself and create a better you?
Silence is only the beginning of the equation.
Take time to stop and listen in silence; engage by asking the question that focuses your thoughts. Talk less, listen more.
Listen then reflect.
After listening, reflect and question your assumption about the breakdown of your reflections.
“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talking.”
- Robert Baden-Powell
Make a decision today to spend more time listening intentionally.
Click here to access our 10-day listening challenge workbook.