Michael Benjamin

As someone that paid off student loans in one year post-graduation, I need you to understand that your personal finance journey is equivalent to your personal development journey. With that being said, I want to discuss a topic that will help you improve yourself personally. As a result of improving personally, you’ll improve financially, because how you do anything is how you do everything.

If this article can help AT LEAST ONE person (besides myself) I provided value and fulfilled my requirement to help you with your personal development and personal finance journey!

You need to ask yourself this important question:

Are you HEARING or LISTENING? Understanding this distinction is imperative to being the most effective human being you can be. When you specifically LISTEN, you leave an opportunity for yourself to grow effectively. Let me give you a quick example.

When I started blogging many years ago, I asked a dear friend of mine what kind of topics she would like to read from me. I used the power of listening; besides hearing her advice of primarily creating content I genuinely support, she subtly stated how she doesn’t read a lot since she was a busy person and often chose an alternative at reading summaries of books or skimming the information.

She immediately noticed that I included summaries as a recap in my blog posts back then, and said she would follow my weekly blog that I had back then. At that time, there was a summary on EVERY SINGLE one of my blog posts, because I put my pride to the side and learned to LISTEN. I say that to tell you to LISTEN! That was quite a while ago, and just to give you a taste of my old blogging style, I’ll include the summary recap on this post for old time’s sake! Let’s discuss the power of listening though.

1. Listening improves your relationships!

Being egotistical isn’t going to help your listening skills because you’ll be listening to respond, rather than to understand. You must practice interdependence.

People easily pick up on the dynamic of listening versus hearing. If you are in the position where you are given the opportunity to listen or hear what someone is saying, they can subconsciously pick up on whether you are merely hearing what they have to say or listening to them actively.

When someone feels like they aren’t being listened to, and are merely being heard, that may make the relationship that’s shared go sour, and you can be viewed as a perpetrator to their peace, so you need to implement the power of listening as a survival tactic.

LISTEN: When you learn to listen, it takes your relationships to the next level, because you know what your friend, spouse or manager wants!

Listening will allow you to know what your audience wants to a degree where hearing can’t take you. You can’t operate at an optimal level if you are just hearing things. We don’t want to hear things anymore. That’s average!

2. We need more practice doing it.

The four pillars of communication include writing, speaking, reading and listening.

Ever since I started school, I’ve consistently taken courses on writing. Whether or not you are a writing major, writing is a required course, because it’s a life skill that everyone needs to know how to perform.

Public speaking courses are offered, because speaking is a life skill that everyone should effectively know how to do. Any course you’ve taken in school focuses on the importance of reading, and because we’ve read consistently for such a long duration in school, we’ve excelled at it at least from the point of when we first started reading.

You’ve spent years writing, speaking and reading. Practice makes permanent, and that’s what allowed for us to be that much more greater at these skills in comparison to where we were when we first started. You’ve taken specific courses on these three skills, but what course did you take towards listening?


Listening is A LIFE SKILL, so we are going to create our own course by practicing listening each and every day.

Before this post, a lot of y’all couldn’t even tell me the difference between hearing and listening. Some of y’all are excellent writers, readers and speakers, but you are average when it comes to the power of listening.

You’ve mastered writing! You’ve mastered reading! You’ve mastered speaking!

LISTEN: We live in a world where listening is a survival skill and if you are going to be a culture change agent or enact any sort of progress on anything in life, you must survive and that starts with working on your weaknesses.

3. Listening creates personal growth.

Listening allows you to grow to a point where a lack of it won’t allow you to reach.

Listening should be centered around doubt. When you are listening, you should actively listen in the sense that you are being skeptical when you listen. Don’t believe anything you are listening to and constantly use the power of doubt in your listening.

When you are cognizant of this principle in the back of your head and consistently practice it, your level of understanding is taken to the next level where hearing in one ear and out the other won’t take you.

Listening is about attitude. You must reframe your mindset to be more positive, because a listening attitude determines your altitude. Listening is being a sponge for knowledge.

BE open to criticism. BE attentive to small and large details. BE proactive in channeling a great attitude within all aspects of your work scope and culture, and your professional development will increase many percentage points. Last time I checked, any improvement is better than none. This is the art of listening.

Summary to recap or if you are a lazy reader (you are still reading by reading this):

Mastering the art of listening is imperative to success and we should all continue practice our listening skills because:

  • Listening improves your relationships: When you learn to listen, it takes your relationships to the next level, because you know what your friend, spouse, or manager wants!
  • We need more practice listening: We’ve taken specific courses on writing, speaking and reading, but what course did you take towards listening? PRACTICE LISTENING!
  • Listening creates personal growth: Listening allows you to grow to a point where a lack of it won’t allow you to reach.

If you found this post helpful, terrible, entertaining, or it made you angry or elicit any kind of emotion, feel free to LIKE/SHARE IT!

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I was blessed to pay off my student loans within one year back when I was 23-years-old so my mission is to help you pay off your student loans quickly through taking control of your relationship with money, while helping you with strategies and tips to pay off your debt quickly.


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