Category Archives: Personal

Bad listener: A Google inside us


This was part of a disastrous conversation between two of my friends during a hiking trip.

A: (talking.. talking.. talking).. bla bla bla
B: (listening) bored…
… silence for a while..  finally!!
A: What do you think of making a plan of hiking at Glenwood (1 hr driving from our place)?
B: It will be fun.  My friend was suggesting to go for hiking in Fort Collins (similar distance from our place).  Do you like to join?
A: No man.  It is too far.
B: Okay, that’s fine.  We are going anyway.  You can join us some other time.
A: No no..  I can go with you guys.
B: (confused) Oh, but you just said “NO” to me.
A: No. I did not.
B: Yes, you did.
A: Then, I mustn’t have been listening to you! (excuse that is so honest)
B: What have you been doing then so far?
A: (getting impatient) I don’t listen to anyone while hiking because I think about stuff. That’s why I don’t like to go hiking with anyone (..after talking for hours and urging us to go for a hike with him).
B: (bothered) well, in that case, you should shut up while hiking.
A: (angry) I hate talking to you.
B: (—-) What?
…. Silence prevailed again …

This was how a promising hiking on a perfect Saturday morning came to an end. An awkward moment presented itself from nowhere because one of my friends found it unbearable to listen to another after talking for hours.

More often than not, we think we are listening.  But in reality, we might be extrapolating their view based on our experience/knowledge about the topic.  Extrapolation or prediction does not work without listening to the other person completely.  Otherwise disastrous outcomes like the google search of “why” can occur.

Google search almost always predicts entirely irrelevant results due to the extrapolation of incomplete words in search bar. Sometimes, the result of our extrapolated imagination after half-hearted listening would lead to similar result.

Everyone loves to talk about themselves and their interests, but few can listen when someone else is talking.  There are several reasons why most of us are terrible listeners.  Most notable symptoms are:

  1. Lack of interest in knowing about the other’s view
  2. Lack of patience in giving our attention to someone completely
  3. Lack of respect for the other’s opinion
  4. Making assumption about others
  5. Start thinking before the other person finishes their talk (missing the rest of the talk)
  6. Attitude of Mr/s Right or know it all (thinking about what advice to give before understanding the nature of talk)
  7. Interrupt them because we are so desperate to have our voice/advice heard
  8. Getting angry with the speaker for not accepting our offer/advice (without knowing they are not asking for it at the first place

So on….

Worst of all is that we all feel when someone is being a bad listener, but we never bother to introspect to see if we are one of them. Why do we need to talk so much about ourselves when we already know everything about us?  Why to lose peace of mind by inundating someone with our unsolicited advice? Why cannot we learn from other’s story that is offered for FREE?

So let’s prevent the GOOGLE inside us from popping up every time someone has something to say.  Everybody is unique and has their unique story that may teach us something new.

A good listening habit may be all that is needed to be successful in almost every aspect of life. One will always come out with a valuable lesson after listening to a conversation.  On the other hand, one will go with nothing more than what s/he already has by doing all the talking.  The more one listens, the more learned s/he will be. That’s why all leaders are good listeners.

I was a a very bad listener to begin with.  Things are changing after I have started paying attention to how I listen.  How about you?  Please share your experience here.

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An untold love story


She woke up with the warmth presence of the charming and radiant man who always came to work from a distant east. This was the moment she had been waiting for all night. Her waiting was over.

She felt the joy and opened her eyes to find him calm and quite. He went on to his work smiling at everyone and she smiled back.  But he never noticed being unaware of the happiness that his presence was bringing in her daily life.

With the day passed by, he got busy in his work and day became tougher. So rough that he was too difficult to handle by anyone. Everyone felt the heat of his presence and tried to avoid him. But she still kept looking at him and never let him go out of her sight.

Clock was ticking. She did not know how many hours passed in between. She was still standing at the same place since the morning. But he was too busy to notice and moved from one end of the field to other end by evening. Exhausted and tired, he slowly walked away and disappeared in the west horizon before stars appeared in clear sky.

She had watched him again walking away. Her face became pale. Another day had passed. Yet, she could not tell him how much she loved him and how long she had been waiting for him to come next day.

Next morning, he came again. But she could not say anything. Many days were gone. She was tired and broken. Her body was falling apart. She could not stand any more for whole day to watch him working. She knew it was her last chance to tell him about her feeling. That day, she called him many times, but he was too busy to hear her voice.

Evening came, so did the night. Everything became quite for her. Her body was lying at east side of field, eyes opened as if she was still waiting for him to come. Nobody noticed her death.

Next morning, he came again. He felt something was missing and found her body lying on ground with a letter for him. He read it all without taking a breath. He never knew that someone could love her so much. But it was too late.

He got very angry on himself for not noticing her early and on the world for keeping him busy in work. His anger was felt everywhere. Everything seemed like burning hot. It made the wind started blowing heavily. The wind carried her and left it at the center of the field.

Hours passed by when he finally calmed down to find her broken and dry body across the field. This time, he could not stop crying. He cried so much that tears soaked her body and the field. Clouds noticed his sorrow and cried with him. He left broken-hearted before evening stars appeared in the distance sky.

A miracle happened that night. New lives were born from her dry body.  The field were filled with her offsprings. The birth of next generation – the generation that will tell the tale of her epic love story. This is the story of “sunflower” and her love “sun”.

There are many unspoken love stories like this where someone dies without being noticed. Hope the story will be passed on from generation to generation and will be told thousands times. So that not a single soul fades unnoticed, not a single life ends without being loved back.

There may be someone there who loves you as much as sunflower loves the sun, but could not able to reach you, because you are too busy. Hope his/her love never dies unnoticed.

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Ideal Match



[Ideal partner WANTED, rich or poor, good looking or ugly!]

I asked couple of my friends this question – “who do you think will be your ideal partner?”. The responses are a replicate of above youtube video. In general, most guys will prefer a beautiful, smart, intelligent, trustworthy, exciting and loving girls who can appreciate everything they have or yet to have. Common personalities of most wanted guys are handsome, smart, rich, caring, good listener, family man, and endless list. Feel free to personalize this illusive list. Now that we know what we want, let’s have some introspection.

Ideal partner is a myth. If you are looking for ideal partner, then you might be in wrong place, at least not in the Earth. Try finding all or some (not less than 4) of those above qualities in you with an independent perspective. Because, it is not what you think you are, but other’s perceptions of you are going to make them recognize the potential ideal partner in you.

If you have those qualities, then you ARE the ideal man/woman who must be living a “happily ever after life”. And this post is not for you. I am happy for you and your partner. Please share your story with us so that we can learn the secret formula from you and enrich our life with your proven method.

Like me, most of you might find that you are not the ideal one. Be aware that, we (not ideal) have overwhelming majority. People like you and me are also enjoying an ideal relationship. How is it possible to have an ideal match with a non-ideal partner?

Ideal match is established between two imperfect persons where imperfection of one compliments the perfectionist within other and vice versa. From childhood, we are told to be perfect, ideal, and be number one in anything and everything. Less attention has been given to the imperfection. The imperfections within us are even despised and deliberately hidden from others. Little we know that our imperfections possess the key to have a “happily ever after” relationship with our partner.

We do need someone who is best in what we are not. Try holding the right hand of your partner in your right hand while walking. Both of your right hands supposed to be the strongest and efficient, yet both don’t fit when it comes to holding both together.  However, when you try holding his/her left hand with your right hand, the bond becomes stronger. It is this difference between both left and right hand results in stronger bond. Relationship is strengthen exactly same way when our imperfection provides the space needed for our partner to express his/her care.

Relationship strives on care, compliments, and self-confidence. Imperfection gives us the opportunity to show that we care by giving and receiving each other’s generous service. Compliments we received for being helpful increase our self-confidence.  And two confident and caring hearts can survive all turmoil of life and live happily. For outsiders, they are perfect.  However, the couple knows inside that it is their complimentary imperfections allow their love to grow stronger.

Our partner should be the person who can best use our strength with his/her imperfection and should be the one who help us overcoming our weakness. Understanding our self is the key to find someone with whom we can live happily. Therefore, we should not be ashamed for the imperfection within us – the imperfection that unlocks the secret of ideal match or our gateway to life full of happiness.

Our ideal match should be the one who can fulfill our limitations and ascertain our strength or someone who makes us complete with all our perfections and imperfections. What is your perception of your ideal match? Please share your experience with us.

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Assumption


Who does the child look like?

A few days ago, I posted this photo of me with my friend’s son and asked “who he looks like”. Some of my close friends expressed their surprise for not telling them that I already have a kid.

I know the question was loaded to make them think that the kid is mine. I am also guilty of making assumption in my life that sometimes curtails my ability to understand a situation correctly. It made me take wrong route in academic life as well as personal life.

Assumption and academic life:

My first encounter with “assumption” that changed my life occurred in Hawaii – during my transition period from Physics to Environmental Engineering. Coming from science background, I don’t assume anything while solving an engineering and complex problem. I ended up not solving some because it was nearly impossible to solve those problems without simplifying those by correct assumptions.

Right assumption may simplify the problem to get a meaningful answer.  Our obsession for simplification sometimes changes the basis of the problem and we may found ourself solving a modified or entirely different problem.

Starting from scratch and going to the basic without too much assumptions should be the best way to go. Imagine Netwon would not have discovered the power of gravity or Einstein would not have realized the theory of relativity if they would have assumed what everyone had been assuming. The greatest scientific invention comes when one refuses to make blind assumptions.

Assumption should be our last resort to solve any problem. Because assumption is a biased opinion based on our previous experience that might not be perfect.

Assumption and social life:

Imagine your friend/partner/colleague acts in a manner that is very uncomfortable or socially unacceptable to you. What is our first reaction? More often than not, we start making assumption and start judging even before we listen to their complete story. Fight/misunderstanding rises and we get stuck with finding the answer about who is right and who is wrong.

There is not always an answer for every misunderstanding when the problem lies with our attitude of making assumption based on our life’s experience. Everything is okay when we are listening without making assumption. However, the moment we do, we stop listening and start judging. An example of wrong assumption and following events that change the heart of a father is told in this “$100 – a touching story

We blame everything on being overly judgmental or not listening. Little do we know that act of making assumption at each moment of any conversation is the origin of every misunderstanding or no understanding.

Blind assumption is the worst enemy of creative thinking and our understanding in establishing any relationship in science or social life.

Everyday our vision is blurred based on the assumption we make in daily life. It distorts our judgment. We end up landing on a place that is far from ideal.  And everything begins with an assumption.

What assumption have you made today? Was it helpful or not so helpful? Please share your story with us.

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A confession


My flight from Spokane was about to land at Denver International Airport.  I was sitting near exit row.  I hurried myself to put my iPod and laptop in my bag.

“Would you please ______  the ________?”

“I am sorry. Can you repeat what you are saying?“ I said.

“Would you ______  the ________?”

I still could not understand what the flight attendant was talking about.  Without wasting any second, I began to imagine any instruction or protocol required for those who sit near “exit row” of the airplane.

Looking at the confusing look of my face, my fellow passenger stretched his arm and opened the window cover.  Only then I realized what the flight attendant was trying to tell me.

Bemused with my poor understanding of her instruction, the flight attendant whispered loudly to her fellow flight attendant – “I thought he (me) said he understood English”.

I must confess that it was painful when someone like her judged me within seconds without understanding various possibilities. Possibilities like, flight attendant was talking way faster – she was using sentence without window or anything in it for easy guessing – I was very absent-minded after listening a powerful story in my iPod.

With a heavy heart, I came outside of airport to catch the bus.  The bus driver asked me about my destination before putting my luggage in proper compartment. I said “Baseline” in my accent.

I saw the same confusing look that I must have while trying to decipher the flight attendant’s question. Before I could speak the second word, bus driver guessed my destination and nodded positively before moving on to the next passengers waiting with their heavy luggage.

This series of events about language barrier and misunderstanding reaffirm my thought about how I should respond to this kind of embarrassment.  I am sure many of my international friends whose native language is not English must have gone through similar incidents to some extent.

It’s not what has happened to us, it’s our choice or reaction to what has happened determines the outcome.

We often expect others to change to cover our limitations.  Instead of learning English or anything else for that matter in proper way, we sometimes wish other to understand our shortcoming and being nice to us.  Why?  Are we not judging other in the spur of moments? If yes, it is just another day to remind us the ground reality.
The reality is that we all should take responsibility to overcome our shortcoming.  Taking things personal does not do any good to us rather makes us trapped in our excuses.  It is nice if others are less judgmental.  But this is the very opportunity we sometimes need to break out of our own misery and be a better person than what we are.

I felt lot better after these thoughts. Bus started moving, so do my thoughts – a step closer to where I like to belong.

Do you have experienced similar embarrassment and learned something positive out of it? Please share my view if you like it.

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Who am I?


Dual personalities

Ever since I have started writing blog, I got mixed reactions from my friends. Some appreciated the writer and thinker inside me. Some other friends openly or secretly found it hard to digest what I am writing here.  Because their personal experience with me may convey very different messages – a difference between what I say and what I have done.

I am thankful for having these wonderful friends who are so honest in their opinions towards me. I must admit whole-heartedly that all of them are RIGHT. I am the same person whose action may make some people doubt me and still the same person whose writing may reflect opposite thought.

I cannot separate my action from myself with an excuse that I did not know or I was not aware of xyz things. I am what I did and what I am doing and will be doing. My action defines me better way than what I write here or say there. The consequence of my action is solely mine. No excuses, period.

I cannot guarantee doing the right things all the time or writing the best piece all the time that most can agree with. I will make mistakes. That’s why you are there to correct me with your thoughts, suggestion, comments and criticism. But I will always own my mistake as gracefully as my righteousness.

Because, both are the wheels of my bike that is leading to where I want to be. The wheels that is turning with every piece of thought I am going through, with every piece of writing I am posting here, with every piece of action I am taking. And every turn it makes, I am discovering who I am.

I like to know how you are learning more about yourself. What are the wheels in your bike?

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