The Art Of Listening

Listening is an art

Everyone has a story to tell. However, not everyone may be willing to listen. Sometimes, we are amaze in an unpleasant way. Over the fact that we have not been paying attention to the one speaking to us.

At some point along the story, our mind has wandered off, and we only drift back to reality when suddenly asked, “Are you still listening?”

Benefits of listening

That would be most unfortunate, since next to our visual skills, our ability to listen allows us to reap various benefits. If we listen to our mentor as he shares with us useful thoughts on life, we become good apprentices.

We listen to our professor as he lectures about the day’s lesson, we become good students. If we listen to our boss as he explains the rationale of the company’s recent policy, we become good employees.

We listen to our parents as they advise us regarding career choices, we become good sons/daughters. If we listen to a friend in dire need of unloading his troubles, we become good friends.

In short, listening is vital in developing good human relationships.

To maximize our listening capability, here are a few tips


It is but a single word, but its message conveys far more. Being focused means paying attention, and a lot of it at that. It means temporarily forgetting about other matters of consequence and lending a few minutes of your time to hear someone speak his mind out.

Means giving interest to whatever it is that the speaker might want to say. It is taking his words seriously into consideration in whatever decision we are to make.

It is placing his story in the context of his emotions, and trying to understand him within the events occurring in his life.

Watch out for non-verbal cues

The message need not always lie on the words, but also in movements that the speaker makes. If we also pay good attention to the speaker’s eyes, facial expressions, and gestures, we will be able to receive the message in totality.

Moreover, if the speaker realizes that we are sincerely listening, we are boosting his confidence.

Be sensitive

A good measure of sensitivity is also essential to maintain enthusiasm in the part of the person speaking. If the person is at the peak of his emotions, do not interrupt.

After all, if someone is extremely angry or anguished, it will be a form of catharsis to remain patient until he has calmed down. Unless the person is already causing bodily harm, it will do him well to let him be purged of his bad feelings.

Show unconditional openness

We may not always agree with what someone has to say, but being there to listen may be the least we can offer. While we may have different opinions about several issues, keeping our horizons wide is a healthy attitude.


With these perspectives in listening, we become open to a world of unlimited learning and diverse experiences.


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The Last Day of Work (Part 2 of 2)

Please don’t dare to miss the Part 1 here


Work is an art

In order to do this, Stop Planning! Yes a corporate consultant saying stop planning. Planning processes are dull, uncreative, boring (here we go again).pla I mean Board Room activity. It lacks life. You design your home, do not plan it. Mental creation is a function of design and not planning.


Planning is out and as Tom Peters would say, Design sells. Taking the same principle a little further, Navitus recommends not planning a future but designing it.

Next time you are ‘planning’ at work remember if you plan, you are about to recreate disgustingly outdated ideas. Instead sit to design. Play music, remove your ties and design future with passion of a sports person, the vision of Michelangelo, inquisitiveness of a 15 month old, determination of a boxer and speed of a cheetah.

Once the designing is done you are ready to put it into action. This is critical. If your designing process is right, you are inspired and ready to be inspired. It is simple! Miandad (a legendary Pakistani cricketer) gave us the reverse sweep.

These are initiatives that are a result of commitment to work. You may call it unconventional, creative or artistic, the fact is it is a result of sheer love of what one does.

When you are done on the stage (workplace), you are performing. Perform like no one has ever performed. Out do your own previous performance. Surprise yourself. It will be the last day you worked!

Last words

Another thought provoking quote at the end: Work joyfully & peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results. James Allen, 1864-1912, British-born American Essayist, Author of ”As a Man Thinketh’

Don’t work today. Design your future! Your last working day was yesterday and yes it is all a state of mind…


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The Last Day of Work (Part 1 of 2)



Confucius said that the day you enjoy your work, would be the last day you ever worked. Another quotation you may say. However, quotes are mind triggers designed to set an attitude, a mindset, and a culture. In simple words, using non corporate lingo, as a way of life. We use them as inspiration for self and others.

The above was just a quote until recent times. This quote coupled with various experiences in the recent past led to a concept that inspired to write what you are about to read below.

This concept will only make sense to you if you are willing to accept what is being said at face value. There is always an argument that you are different and that your ‘work’ cannot be made fun. If this is the mindset, guess what? You are right. Whether you think you can or cannot? In either case you are 100% right.

Work is an art

Work is actually an art. It requires you to use the science but display it like art. Your work is a piece of art because no one else has the brush but you. You are given a blank sheet to paint – your job description and responsibilities. How you paint, is purely in your hands.

Now let’s take you to any corporate Dude working in a company. Day in/day out, doing the same stuff. Fun is dying out. The first month excitement is out. Gone are the days when s/he used to be thrilled with that first business booked, the first promotion, the first 100% quality achievement and many other firsts.

Life has become a drag. It does not offer any more ‘firsts’ the way it used to. So big deal. Think of it this way. Today is the First day of the rest of your life. LIVE IT, PAINT IT!

I recently read that a routine life leads to a rut and the only difference between a rut and a grave, is the depth. Bring back life in your work by treating it as an art.


Continue reading Part 2.

The World’s Richest Artist (Part 3 of 3)

Do not miss out the First and Second Part.


His most controversial financial creation, is a small sculpture called For the Love of God. It is the most expensive work of art ever made. In 2006, he had a platinum cast fabricated from an 18th century human skull he bought from an antique shop.

The cast was then coated with 8,600 flawless diamonds at a reported cost of $28 million. He announced an asking price of $100 million and in August 2007 he claimed he’d gotten it, in cash, from an anonymous consortium. Critics speculate that he and his business manager are a part of the secret consortium, and that the actual price fell short of $100 million. If true, it would mean nonetheless, that he still maintains an ownership stake in his most valuable piece, a stake he can always sell at a later date.

After Hirst’s announcement, the New York Times editorial scolded that he (Hirst) has gone from being an artist to being what you might call the manager of the hedge fund of Damien Hirst’s art. No artist has managed the escalation of prices for his own work quite as brilliantly as him. They also added that it is the real concept in his conceptualism, which has culminated in his most recent artistic farce: a human skull encrusted in diamonds.

The New York Times editorial didn’t register any disapproval of the crazed escalation of the art-world prices in general. The article seemed to say that it is okay for art dealers and collectors to speculate and profit from rising prices, but if an artist excels in profiting from his own work, he somehow suffers a loss of artistic integrity.


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The World’s Richest Artist (Part 2 of 3)

Do not miss out the Part 1.


It was repulsive and disgusting. In 1990 when it was shown publicly, Charles Saatchi, the world’s famous art collector, stood before it with his mouth agape in awe. He gave Hirst a $60,000 commission to produce his next work, a 14-foot tiger shark suspended in a gigantic tank of formaldehyde. It was titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living and it became his signature artwork, an icon of 1990s British conceptual art. In 2004, Saatchi would sell Hirst’s pickled shark to a New York hedge fund magnate for a rumored $12,000,000. He achieved this with the help of 120 employees in a factory-style studio, where “original Damien Hirsts” are turned out under his supervision, but usually without ever so much touching them. He has his paintings made of spin-art that take three minutes to produce and are priced at $10,000. He has series of “dot” paintings, colorful dots on canvas, which he admits he lacks the technical skills to do them properly.

In 2003, Hirst paid $15 million to buy back of his own early paintings from Charles Saatchi in order to help control supply and demand of his seminal work. Experts could not recall any artist ever making such a wise and far-sighted investment maneuver.

In September 2008, a week after the debt crisis sank Lehman Brothers that shook financial market around the world, Hirst defied doomsayers and auctioned off $198 million worth of his own artwork at Sotheby’s, exceeding even the high presale estimates. The auction was unusual because it was the first time any artist had managed the sale of his work directly to the public, cutting out the fat commissions normally enjoyed by his London and New York dealers. He got the idea from his previous experience with Pharmacy, a London restaurant he partly owned. When the restaurant closed in 2004, he personally oversaw auctioning off everything inside it, right down to matchboxes. He raised more than $20 million that way, far more than the restaurant itself worth.


Continue reading the Last Part