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Motivation Mondays: LISTEN

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“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN - Are you a Good Listener?

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN – Are you a Good Listener?

kids story – The Boy Who Finally Listened

Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. Margaret J. Wheatley
The first duty of love is to listen. Paul Tillich
I read, I study, I examine, I listen, I think, and out of all that I try to form an idea into which I put as much common sense as I can. Marquis de Lafayette

Are You a Good Listener? How Well do You Listen to Others or even to Yourself?  Tomorrow is the National Day of Listening so this is a great day to reflect on the topic. From time to time, we’ve all been told to pay attention. While some of us are more adept at listening, some folks simply don’t listen. Why?  For starters, we think four times faster than we talk and the same principle applies  when others are talking. Unless we make a concerted effort to hit the pause button of our inner chatter, focus our attention on the person before us, and respond effectively, it is incredibly hard to hear everything that is said to us. When we are distracted or our thoughts are straddling two worlds, It is even harder to respond without resorting to an automatic, canned response. How often do you find yourself chatting with a friend, family member or colleague and the immediate response to whatever you are sharing is “Yeah, Sure, Got it!?” Did they really hear everything you said? Are they simply responding to that inner reply button that kicks in when we are eager to have our  own thoughts heard; even if it means that we don’t hear with others are saying?  Another fallout of our inattentiveness manifests as people second guessing each other, jumping to conclusions or proffering a response without hearing all the facts. If we wish to be heard, we must become better listeners. It does take practice and a willingness to be present in our conversations.

How Does not Being Heard Make You Feel? Everyone wants to feel validated and heard. Even when people have a disagreement, fences can be mended if both sides feel heard. We can agree to disagree over an issue as long as we have communicated our position clearly and we respect the other person’s right to express their position. Once both sides have presented their position, we may agree that while we respect each others right to an opinion, we are choosing to stand by our own. Our credibility as clear headed, thinking people won’t be challenged, if we take a stand after hearing both sides. Simple, right? Well, not quite… What often happens is that people stop listening the moment they hear an objectionable buzzword or trigger. Once that surfaces, they tune the other party out and the chance at healing or compromise is lost. As parents/teachers/bosses, we ought to make an effort to hear what our kids/students/staff are saying to us and honor their POV sometimes; even if we feel our position is stronger. Why? Because we build trust by supporting the effort others are making and, by encouraging them to explore their position, we open the door to building greater transparency, dialogue and trust. Until we hear others fully with all our heart, we can’t expect the same. It takes reciprocity to listen and be heard.


A Story: How Well Do You Listen? Source Unknown
The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.” It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Nonplussed, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.” Source Unknown.


A Story: Listening = Obeying – Zen Stories via
The master Bankei’s talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners. His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to have a debate with Bankei. “Hey, Zen teacher!” he called out. “Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?” “Come up beside me and I will show you,” said Bankei. Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher. Bankei smiled. “Come over to my left side.” The priest obeyed. “No,” said Bankei, “we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here.” The priest proudly stepped over to the right. “You see,” observed Bankei, “you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen.”

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN - Are you a Good Listener?

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN – Are you a Good Listener?

There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen. Christopher Morley
Know or listen to those who know. Baltasar Gracian
To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well. John Marshall
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. Franz Kafka

Do People Accuse You of Being a Poor Listener?  At different points in our lives, we might fall into a pattern of tuning out everything around us because we are focused on a personal challenge or the demands of a pressing assignment. In times like that, we might be easily distracted from what others say to us or simply find that we are unable to deal with much chatter because we are trying to solve the issues before us. It is very important to be aware of the tendency and set aside time to hear others and, perhaps, share with those we trust that we are having a hard time.

When are You least Effective As a Listener? I know that when my spirit is troubled or when I have a deadline to meet, I’m not at my best as a listener. In times like that, pretending to listen to others is the worst thing to do because people can easily pick up on our inattentiveness. When we switch out of a conversation/interview or counseling moment people feel a vacuum in the exchange. So it is best to be honest and clear the air by intentionally setting aside whatever is weighing us down and be present for the other person. If we find that hard to do, we should articulate it in a clear manner and let the person know it’s not them but whatever issue we are currently struggling with… Even such an admission could open the door to an honest dialogue that benefits everyone… So, when the  going gets tough, listen to Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s advice below and be compassionate with yourself and others in your life.


Listen! by Ella Wheeler Wilcox via FamousPoetsandPoems
Whoever you are as you read this,
Whatever your trouble or grief,
I want you to know and to heed this:
The day draweth near with relief.

No sorrow, no woe is unending,
Though heaven seems voiceless and dumb;
So sure as your cry is ascending,
So surely an answer will come.

Whatever temptation is near you,
Whose eyes on this simple verse fall;
Remember good angels will hear you
And help you to stand, if you call.

Though stunned with despair I beseech you,
Whatever your losses, your need,
Believe, when these printed words reach you,
Believe you were born to succeed.

You are stronger, I tell you, this minute,
Than any unfortunate fate!
And the coveted prize – you can win it;
While life lasts ’tis never too late!


Happy Blog Anniversary

Happy Blog Anniversary

Today is the 8th Anniversary of this blog. What started as a motivational/training tool for my agents has evolved into a creative, inspirational and informational outlet. Thank you for staying the course with me. Upwards and Onward!


The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for October and November 2016 are:

10/03 –  2-4 Rosh Hashana,  6 German-American Day,
10/10 –  10  Columbus Day, World Mental Health Day, 11 International Day of the Girl,  12 Yom Kippur
10/17 –   16 World Food Day / FAO World Food Day
10/24 –  24 United Nations Day,  28 National Chocolate Day, 29 National Cat Day, 30 Diwali
10/31 —  31 Halloween

11/01/6 –   01 All Saints Day/Day of the Dead,  02 All Soul’s Day, o3, Culture Day, 05 Guy Fawkes Day
11/07   –  07 Chocolate + Almonds Day, 11 Martinmas/Remembrance Day/Veterans Day/Armistice Day, 13 World Kindness Day
11/14 – 14 Full Moon, 15 Republic Day, 16 Day of Repentance 20, National Black Consciousness Day/Revolution Day
11/21 –   21 World Hello Day, 23 National Cashew Day, 24 Thanksgiving Day
11/28  –   29 New Moon/E-Greetings Day/National Day of Listening

Are You Looking for Ways to Stay Creative in 2016?

– Join the Daily Post Post-a-day or Post-a-week Challenge.


— Join the BlogHer Writing Lab



More Below!
“Listen, wait, and be patient. Every shaman knows you have to deal with the fire that’s in your audience’s eye.” Ken Kesey

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN - Are you a Good Listener?

Motivation Mondays: LISTEN – Are you a Good Listener?

Listen to many, speak to a few. William Shakespeare
If you wish to know the mind of a man, listen to his words. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Nor shall derision prove powerful against those who listen to humanity or those who follow in the footsteps of divinity, for they shall live forever. Forever. Khalil Gibran
Your mind knows only some things. Your inner voice, your instinct, knows everything. If you listen to what you know instinctively, it will always lead you down the right path. Henry Winkler


How Can We Become Better Listeners? Listening is an active verb and it requires attention, sincerity, and a willingness to set aside our own expectations/opinions and give the speaker the benefit of the doubt.  Listening requires a conscious effort to stop ourselves from interrupting others train of thought.  To truly listen, we must respect the other person’s request to be heard and, to do so, we must BE PRESENT! Why?  Because to be present as a listener demands that we focus our gaze on the other person, set aside our opinions, and even say out loud that we are here to hear them out. Verbalizing our presence/attention affirms it in both our mind and our body and it helps us reorient our focus on the other. Another step which is an important step to take, is to repeat back/summarize what has been said to you so the speaker can confirm that you heard them fully. When we reiterate what has been said to us, it clarifies any confusion, helps our mind to focus on the facts being presented, and helps us to avoid reaching for other fleeting interpretations we might consider or imagine. If you are easily distracted by sights and sounds, appearances, certain phrases or trigger words,  be attentive to those triggers and find a quiet place to have a conversation with another. We all want to feel heard, and the better we become at listening, the better our relationship would become. Go for it!


The Listeners by Walter de la Mare via FamousPoetsandPoems
“Is there anybody there?” said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest’s ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
“Is there anybody there?” he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
‘Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:–
“Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,” he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.


Have a Happy Listening week ahead!

Any Zen Antics stories via


Positive Motivation Tip:  The more we listen, the more we will feel heard. Listening takes two!

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM
Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos –  Thanksgiving via Wikipedia, and/or  Thanksgiving via Pixabay

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet









28 Comments leave one →
  1. Lyosha Varezhkina (@lyoshathegirl) permalink
    03/10/2018 7:49 pm

    First of all I love the poem. It is so beautiful, so inspiring!
    Second of all I want to talk about listening. I think the biggest gift person has is ability to listen. It is the most major part of communication. A lot of people hear but not listen. Listening for me means understanding, ability to make a chain of what is written, ability to ask a question if needed. It is not seen as often as I would want it to be seen.


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