Where Are Your Ears

In the previous post I wrote about using feedback as a growth strategy. I ended the post by highlighting that feedback is not just about getting to know all the areas of your shortcomings; it is about listening and leveraging whatever you hear for your growth. (This post will be more helpful if you follow read it with that post.)

After reading this post I want you to be able to answer this question, “Where are your ears?” Wait, don’t answer the question until you’ve read the whole post. (Just to clear the air, this post is not about anatomy) Let me start giving you a brief story that changed my life more than any other story I heard in my teens. (This is a big claim and it is true! The story changed my life for good! Dr. Phineas Dube told me this story)

listen

where are your ears?

Once upon a time, there three adolescent frogs who enjoyed each other’s company and well, being frogs. They met like they normally did on any other day, not knowing that day was not going to be like any other they had had in the short life. It would change everything about their lives.

They played their favourite game, hop. It so happened that day, they ventured a little farther than they normally did and eventually landed in a very deep hole. They natural instinct was to do what frogs are good at; to jump. Unfortunately, the hole was too deep for their adolescent muscles to propel them out.

The commotion caught the attention of other teenage frogs who came and peered in the hole and roared their encouragement to their peers. “Jump! You can do it!”, they yelled. With the encouragement the three frogs in the hole gave their all in an attempt to jump out of the hole. Unfortunately they failed to make it.

Frogs peering into the hole soon realised that their friends were not going to be able to hop out and brought this reality to their friends’ attention. Two of the frogs were so overwhelmed with despair it killed them. The surviving frog kept leaping despite the death of his peers.The young frog got stronger with each attempt. Until, he made it.

As the exhausted wobbled home the frogs that had been at the top of the hole tried to stop him but failed to get their attention. Curiosity getting the better of them, they pursued the frog that had just managed to leap out and stood in his way to get his attention. It was at this point that they realised he was deaf.

That, in a nutshell, is the most significant story I heard in my teenage years.

Facts:

Everyone

Whether it is life or leadership, people will always have opinions about how you live and or lead. Fortunately and unfortunately, some people cannot help but articulate their opinions. You are going to hear a lot of things; what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. There are many voices that you going to hear. Some will shout from the sidelines

Pendulum

Sometimes those that encourage you will be the ones that will discourage you and vice versa. In some instances the ones that discourage you on a particular thing may be the ones to encourage you on the very same thing! Fact!

The moral of the story:

Ears

Not everyone that says something to you is worthy of your attention. Your success as a person and leader heavily depends on who you listen to. Do not listen to people that tell you what you may want to hear all the time.

Surround yourself with honest people with your interests at heart. People that are not afraid of you or of cursing your ego. Choose carefully who you listen to! Because everyone  is going to speak does not mean you have to listen. Exercise selective hearing.

Vision

Because the crowd in the stands can be easily swayed, finding motivation for your endeavours from them can be “vision homicide”. Do not base the greater part of your motivation on the volume of the cheers from the crowd; doing so will make you most unstable. Vision can be an anchor if you focus on it more than the applause and or cheer from the stands.

So, where are your ears? Have you carefully chosen who you listen to? Why do you listen to who you listen to? Have great feedback strategies but be prudent on how and why you listen. Where are your ears?!

Question: How can you determine who to and not to listen to?

illustration by Fay IIyas, (cc)

Author: Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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