Listening and Innovation

When I was learning the tricks of my trade from my teacher, I used to listen.

Since I hardly ever questioned him or expressed any doubt about what he said he asked me one day, “Do you understand what I say?”

“Yes”, I said “since I intently listen to what you say.”

“And how is that?” he asked.

“When I am listening to you there are no longer two persons like you and I. There are no longer the speaker and the listener. I just become one with you. That is the only way I understand what you say. The whole responsibility is mine”

Even today, I remember not only what my teacher spoke but also remember the manner in which he spoke, wrote, explained, gestured — every small detail.

Soon some of my friends remarked that when I delivered a talk or a lecture or engaged in a conversation, I spoke and behaved exactly the way my teacher did.

Needless to say, that this skill of listening soon helped me surge ahead with rapid speed in what became my profession and my hobby.  Soon I innovated many special techniques and methods of innovation that can be easily applied to complex situations.

Listening is an indispensable skill in innovation.

It is so very important when innovation is a response to an existing complexity.

The goal of listening is to merge with what is being ‘listened’ to and be one with it.

Then only true understanding emerges.

All good innovations take birth from such true understanding.



Qualities of a Teacher…

We all need teachers/gurus/mentors to get ahead in life and do good to self and others.

But what are the qualities of a teacher that make a ‘teacher’ the right teacher for us?

There are at least seven qualities any good teacher has: –

1. Knows about a practice learned from past masters or having created a body of knowledge developed over years of practice through direct experience.

2. Knows the nuanced meaning of the body of knowledge.

3. Sense of oneself . Knows one’s convictions, values, virtues, weakness, ways or methods of learning, degree of discernment, wit, humor, kindness, emotions, feelings…

4. Sense when enough is enough. That is having a sense of enough food, shelter, clothing, health, knowledge, practice, application, concentration, thinking, effort, ….

5. Sense of time and place. Has a sense of timing of when to act, speak, think, concentrate, when to eat, when to rest, when to listen, when to memorize, when to collaborate, when to cooperate, when to ask questions, when to stop, when not to act ….

6. Sense of social gathering. Has a sense of what is to be done in a social setting. How much is to be spoken? How to behave? When to speak or act what? How a thing is to be told or communicated? What and how to tell whom and what… that brings out the best in self and others…

7. Sense of individuals. Has a sense of whom to follow, whom to learn from, whom to copy, whom to collaborate with, whom to cooperate, whom to stay close to, whom to avoid …..

First two qualities are related to knowledge, which can be transmitted through words, books, lectures, debates, dialogs. The last five are related to sensing, which can’t be directly transmitted but are to be developed by the student by copying the teacher and staying close enough to experience various situations and learn how the teacher faces and negotiates such situations.