Food For Thought for July 13th, 2011

Once upon a time, there was a king who never wore shoes. He was forever bruising and scraping his royal feet. One day, completely exasperated with this problem,


he turned to his trusty minister and ordered: “I want you to carpet the entire kingdom by tomorrow morning, or it’s off with your head!”

The poor minister sat up half the night thinking about this impossible task, and knowing full well that he would surely lose his head come morning. Suddenly, just as the sun began to rise, his fear turned to joy. He had an idea. Bounding from his bed, he ran to the royal carpetorium.

When the king awoke the next morning he jumped quickly out of bed and hurried to the royal window to view his carpet covered kingdom. Seeing not one inch of carpet anywhere he began bellowing for the minister roaring wildly. “Minister, Where’s my minister? I’ll have his head!”

At that very moment, the minister appeared at the king’s door clutching a pair of very foreign objects in his hands. “Oh your highness, please be so kind as to try these first,” he begged. The king agreed, and in the wink of an eye the minister slipped the world’s first pair of carpet slippers onto the king’s royal feet.

Instantly the king’s anger turned to delight. Shuffling around the room with the softness of the finest carpet in the kingdom beneath his feet, all he could do was smile with every step.

The moral of this story relates to effective listening and finding something to get interested in. It is about listening for more than we are accustomed to, and turning every interaction into a challenge. Throughout life we often find ourselves in situations we don’t like and can’t change; we can, however, learn how to change our own experience and gain valuable insights along the way. Most of us do not realize the importance of listening as a communicative tool. Yet studies have shown that we actually spend 50% more time listening than we do talking. We often take listening for granted, never realizing that it is a skill that can be learned.

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