• How silence can make you a better person



    “HELLO, darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again . . .” so goes The Sound of Silence—a popular song of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, which started as a commercial failure in its first launch in 1964, but with the “overdubbed” version, it hit the number one spot in the 100 Billboard Chart in January 1966 and beyond. Fast forward.

    The rest was history, until the folk rock song was added to the US Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” in 2013.

    Whenever you look at one of those popular songs and playing it back on YouTube, chances are, you’ll get some ideas on how to interpret your relationship with people. The past week was a good example when I sent emails and private messages via social media to some “friends” from way back. It was followed by landline calls and requests for a return call—all of which have proven to be futile attempts at a reconnection.

    Indeed, there’s no better way than to have it on an eyeball-to-eyeball basis. But at this age and space, not to mention the convenience of technology, you don’t want to coerce people to endure the daily traffic hassle around the metropolis. That’s the truth. Times have changed, and so goes your business connection down the drain and into the murky Pasig River.

    “Who needs whom?” On top of everyone’s mind, the answer can be found on where a person is seated or where he’s getting his bread and butter. At times, if you can’t decide, you’ll propose, “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch my back.” I’m giving something to you, therefore you should pay me back sooner than later. Sounds familiar, right?

    It’s happening every day, whether you’re in the public or private sector—or even in the so-called non-profit associations that are peopled by those masquerading as volunteers but, the truth of the matter is—these rats are on the lookout for marketing their alleged “professional” services, if not the free meals.

    Everyone wants to be in the rat race while ignoring Lily Tomlin’s refrain: “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” You’ll all smell the same and carry all the bacteria around the place until it becomes too late.

    Forbes contributor Sujan Patel says you have to abandon the “scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back” mentality. Instead, “help people you know can’t help you back.” For one, you’ll attract better people, and not the opportunistic, materialistic kind. “You’ll forge deeper connections and relationships, instead of attracting a network of people who just want to leverage your relationship or take advantage of you.”

    And second, you can build genuine relationships in your professional network. “Someone who helps others without keeping track of who can help you and how, you’ll build invaluable relationships in your community.” If you keep on tracking those who owe you a favor, then you’ll lose the essence of genuine giving. Unfortunately, this goes against the grain of many people.

    If that’s the case, then how would you handle people who refuse to reply (or ignore) your message even if there’s clear proof they’ve received them crystal clear, like some office colleagues who received your request for a return call? Unfortunately, most of the answers that I hear from close friends and neighbors leave me yawning to kingdom come.

    They want me to fight back to the end. Put out fire with fire. An eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. If not, a military tank for someone’s water tank, a flamethrower for someone’s fly-swatter and a missile for someone’s grenade. But they can’t convince this peace-loving and law-abiding citizen of this country.

    I can only mutter “forgive without punishing” (Colossians 3:13), “listen without interrupting” (Proverbs 18), “speak without accusing” (James 1:19), “give without sparing” (Proverbs 21:26), “share without pretending” (Ephesians 4:15), “trust without wavering” (1 Corinthians 13:7) and “promise without forgetting” (Proverbs 13:12).

    So laugh if you want. I’m going to be divine on this issue. Instead, I’m going to hire a personal assistant. His job will be to send my personal email of warm reconnection to my 30,000 friends, here and abroad.

    Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or foll ow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for his random management thoughts on “Elbonomics.”


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