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Are You The Smartest In The Room?

October 4, 2017

 

 

"Shhhhh!!!! Be Slow to speak but be quick to listen!" Words that have been stuck in my head for as long as I can remember. Words made famous in my world by my dear mother, Lucy Ademinokan. And yes, that includes the "Shhhhhhhhhhh!!!!".

Now hear me loud and clear, my mother did not in any way mean that her children should never have a voice. No! She never meant we shouldn't have the courage to bear our minds, stand up for ourselves or have an opinion. I'm not going to lie, listening is one of the hardest things for me as a kid because I was such a nerd and a bookworm who read any and everything he could get his hands on. What was I going to do with all this information I had? Talk about it and let people know how smart I am, of course. Mom called it arrogance. Yeah. She called it.

I'm glad she set me straight at that early age because developing the ability to listen, and listening without an opinion has been a very powerful weapon in my hands. 'Weapon' may seem like a huge and exaggerated description but, that is what it is, a weapon. When you possess a tool that can cause liberation, tear down walls and cause people to respect and obey you even if they didn't want to, you'd call that tool a weapon.

In all my years of traveling to almost every continent on the planet and interacting with people of diverse cultures, ideologies, religions and values, the ability  to listen and understand them better has made it possible for them to also accept me as family even more.

There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. When you listen, you learn. Nobody learns anything or retains information when talking. You learn when you listen. Do you pick up a book to read and start talking as you read? No. You read quietly because you're taking in information. You're absorbing.
 

Have you noticed that those kids who talk a lot in class are usually the ones who don't know or do anything? I remember my days as a student in film school in New York, we had this class mate who always came in and would not shut up about his equipment, things he knew about films, frame rates, great cameras, and the color of his grandmother's pajamas. Well, you get the gist. He always had something to say about everything. One day I had to shut him up because I didn't fly from Africa to New York to listen to him. My question to him was, "If you already know this much, why are you here? Don't bring your stupidity into class with you. Leave it at the door." Yeah, that was the Daniel without filters. Oh gosh!

 

 

This dude, in his mind, believed he was better than everybody in that class, and compared to him, we were mere mortals. I guess he was coming to school as a student, hoping to teach his fellow students and the instructors. I noticed that every time the instructor was saying something, this fellow was already eager to jump in and say something. So while information was being disseminated by their instructor and the rest of the class was absorbing that, he had words in his head waiting on the tip of his tongue, thus blocking his brain from receiving anything. Instead of receiving, he was processing what he wanted to say, which is the same information he's had for over 10 years. He felt he was the smartest in the room and missed out on a great opportunity to learn.

There is a reason why you can't plant corn on a concrete floor. It's hard. It's taken shape. It's sealed. It can't receive anything. When you talk more than you listen, you're that concrete floor. You won't receive anything. And if all you do is give and never take time to replenish, someday you'll go empty.

 

Smart people know that they should never be the smartest in the room. Yes. You read that right. If you're always the smartest in the room, get out and make sure you find a room where at least one person is smarter than you. When you are with smarter people, you get smarter. That means you get to listen more and talk less. You learn. You grow. This doesn't mean it's wrong to be the smartest in the room. But ALWAYS acting like, and trying to be the smartest in the room will leave you as the dumbest eventually.

 

Have a blessed and fruitful week. Remember, stay safe and don't do drugs.  #DaBishopChronicles

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