eThe Daily Stoic for June 15th. “Listening Accomplishes More Than Speaking”.
“To the youngster talking nonsense Zeno said, ‘The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is so we might listen more and talk less.’”
—DIOGENES LAERTIUS, LIVES OF EMINENT PHILOSOPHERS, 7.1.23
Some daily stoics ago, on What’s Better Left Unsaid, I mentioned how I have started to take more time to listen to others. For some time now, I try my best to speak less and get to know what others think, their points of view and their way of seeing things.
It’s something quite enlightening I would say. And I would recommend anyone practicing it. Listen more, speak less.
However, what’s interesting for me is how today’s stoic actually ignores the topic suggested by the title and the quote from Diogenes altogether and speaks about a very different subject…
The Three Treats Of The Wise Men…
Instead of talking about listening or speaking, today’s excerpt enumerates three reasons why supposedly wise men have fewer problems than the rest of us… Interesting? Let’s review them.
“First, the wise seem to manage expectations as much as possible. They rarely expect what isn’t possible in the first place.”
Well, as an entrepreneur, I consider myself kind of a dreamer. Probably all entrepreneurs are -or should be- dreamers. So expecting what isn’t possible can sometimes help you achieve something that was considered impossible previously.
“Second, the wise always consider both the best and worst case scenarios. They don’t just think about what they wish to happen, but also what very realistically can happen if things were to suddenly turn.”
One of my main problems is perhaps that I am always planning and thinking about future possibilities, especially what can go wrong. That may make me a wise man… or not, but surely makes me struggle to live the present, and be more relaxed and easy going sometimes. I’m working on that, though, and meditation is actually one great tool in my arsenal.
“Third, the wise act with a reverse clause—meaning that they not only consider what might go wrong, but they are prepared for that to be exactly what they want to happen—it is an opportunity for excellence and virtue.”
Here’s when it’s clear that I’m not a wise man. While I am a positive person, I tend to always imagine the worst-case scenario, when things go completely wrong. That perhaps is not a very usual behavior on a dreamer, and it’s actually not very beneficial.
Thus: three things to work on: be more realistic, consider best and worst scenarios, but don’t let them overcome the present, and be more positive and less doomy 🙂
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Listening Accomplishes More Than Speaking”, contrarily to what the title would suggest, speaks about three characteristics of every wise men… So I thought it would be nice to actually write down my thoughts about them.