Listen with curiosity

By Friday, June 15, 2018 0 No tags Permalink 18

A teacher teaching Maths to a seven-year-old Shubham asked him, “If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?” Within a few seconds, Shubham replied confidently, “Four!”

The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer (three).  She was disappointed.  “Maybe the child did not listen properly,” she thought.  She repeated, “Shubham, listen carefully.  If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?”

Shubham had seen the disappointment on his teacher’s face.  He calculated again on his fingers.  But within him, he was also searching for the answer that will make the teacher happy.  His search for the answer was not for the correct one, but the one that will make his teacher happy.  This time hesitatingly he replied, “Four…”

The disappointment stayed on the teacher’s face.  She remembered that Shubham liked strawberries.  She thought maybe he doesn’t like apples and that is making him lose focus.  This time with an exaggerated excitement and twinkling in her eyes she asked, “If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many you will have?”

Seeing the teacher happy, young Shubham calculated on his fingers again.  There was no pressure on him, but a little on the teacher.  She wanted her new approach to succeed.  With a hesitating smile, young Shubham enquired, “Three?”

The teacher now had a victorious smile.  Her approach had succeeded.  She wanted to congratulate herself.  But one last thing remained.  Once again she asked him, “Now if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple how many will you have?” Promptly Shubham answered,”Four!”

The teacher was aghast.  “How Shubham, how?” she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice. In a voice that was low and hesitating, young Shubham replied, “Because I already have one apple in my bag.”

Moral: When someone gives you an answer that is different from what you expect, whether at work or personal life, don’t think they are wrong.  There may be an angle that you have not explored at all. You will have to listen and understand, but never listen with a predetermined notion. Don’t be judgmental and closed-minded to anyone different or special.

Listen with curiosity but with no predetermined notions. Speak with honesty but not to delight . Act with integrity but not to manipulate. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.


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