Howard Coop | An invaluable principle

Published 12:32 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2016

One morning, as I usually do, I went to my desk to begin the day.

The first thing I noticed was the disorderly mess left over from the previous day. Along with it was and an open book, just the way I had left it, beside the keyboard of my computer. I glanced at it and the first words I saw were:  “…take note of this.”

That got my attention, and I took note of it. To my amazement, I found, in fourteen words, an invaluable principle that is not only good, but also is not always easy to follow in everyday situations that one may face. 

Email newsletter signup

When I thought about those fourteen words, and what they had to say, an old proverb, many centuries old, came to mind: “The more the words, the less the meaning.” That, I believe, can be turned around to say, “The less the words, the more pointed the meaning.”

The first part of that invaluable principle was, “Be quick to listen.” When I saw those words, I remembered the many times during my childhood and youth when I had been reminded, “You learn more by listening than you do by talking.”  I knew being quick to listen is important. So, I read further.

The second part of that principle was, “Be slow to speak.” That amazed me, and after thinking about it, I realized that, too, it is important. Just maybe, someone else has something important that needs to be said. So, we need to be slow to speak and listen. Too often, many of us reverse those two parts of that principle.  We are too quick to speak and too slow to listen to what someone else has to say.     

As I read on, I came to the clincher, a point that is conclusive and decisive. That clincher was composed of two parts, “Do not merely listen,” but “Do what it says.” 

How often have you heard, or said, in a dismissive way, “I hear you?” That is insufficient. Something things heard require action.