Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Lesson from 2018: Listening

As I reflect on 2018, I could think of one lesson worth sharing. Putting this lesson into practice is one of my aspirations for the next year, too.

I’ve started to see a general principle that emerges in many domains of life - family, work, marriage, culture, business, and more - tension is created when the demands of the external environment are out of whack with the internal environment. 

For example, at work when the demands of a job don’t match with the employee’s skills and interest. Or in business when what the customer wants doesn’t match with the skills or culture of the company selling its products or services. Or in a marriage when what your partner needs isn’t what you’re able to provide.

Some tension is good because it helps us grow. But when in excess, tension is destructive.

The point is this: it’s really important for the internal and external environment to be in harmony. If they’re not, one or both have to evolve, or else tension is inevitable.

The practical lesson is about listening. How would someone even know if the internal and external environment are out of whack? It takes honest, sincere, listening. Listening is the first step to getting the internal and external to be in harmony. Which means listening is also the first step to having harmony in many domains of our lives.