When was the last time you listened, really listened? Some people go through their days and never listen at all. They talk. When someone is talking to them, rather than really listening, they’re only preparing to respond.
They forget the #1 rule of listening. To listen is to be silent.
Interesting that the two words are anagrams of one another. We can’t do the first without the second.
Talking is easy. Listening is difficult. Yet, it is only by listening that we really learn — learn what our clients’ needs are — learn to be a better friend, better spouse, better parent, better human being. And, by listening, we learn to truly appreciate the world around us.
As a musician, I’ve learned that listening makes me better at my musical craft. When I listen, really listen to my fellow musicians, on or off the stage, that’s when I really learn, really improve.
And, by truly listening, I am able to understand more about my favorite composer, J.S. Bach. Each and every time I listen to a work by Bach, I learn something new.
Don’t forget to listen.
A few years ago, one of my articles was published in an educational magazine of interest to high school and college-aged flute students and their teachers. (My former career was as a classical musician.) I had written the article not long after the passing of the well-known and highly respected French flutist, Louis Moyse, my teacher and musical mentor of 30 years.
I came across the article again a few days ago and was taken by the fact that the musical “Life Lessons” I had shared with other flutists can easily apply to those of us in today’s business world.
What follows are 10 of the many memorable quotes I remember from Louis Moyse, followed by my translations. To apply the lessons to business life, I have added just a few words to my original writing and have shown them in parentheses.
- “This is your territory; mark it!” — Find your place in the (business) world and make the most of it!
- “Start from nothing. Then, allow yourself to grow.” — Make knowledge and self-improvement your lifelong quest.
- “Don’t be a flutist; it’s much more important to be a musician.” — Look at the details, certainly, but don’t forget to focus on the broader (business) picture. Think strategically.
- “It may be marked ‘Grave’ but it’s not necessarily about death!”— Don’t make things out to be worse than they really are.
- “You must learn to be your own teacher.” — You are responsible for your own destiny. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
- “You need to suffer!”— With (business) experience comes understanding.
- “Be more free, like a sheep. Sometimes it helps not to have too much brains (sic).” — Don’t over-think things; trust your (business) instincts.”
- “There is no such thing as ‘instant flute.’ You have to work at it!” — Success (in music or business) is not supposed to come easily.
- “Sometimes, the most difficult thing is to do nothing.” — Some things (in business) are best left alone.
- “Make it simple.” — Clear straightforward (business) communication has a power all its own.
by Rebecca Cochran