“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about the silent act of listening. This underused skill serves us in two major domains.

MINIMIZE SELF-TALK Self-talk comes in many forms – from self-deprecating jabs to words of encouragements – but its utility is limited. More often than not, negative self-talk can give way to dejection and apathy. Instead of turning to self-criticism, look for opportunities to listen to mind and body. This requires inner silence which allows us to gain insight and appreciate our levels of apprehension, anxiety, excitement or joy.

The effort to be silent and to listen to our emotions is crucial if we are to be “in the moment”. The act of being present, requires stillness so that we reflect what our emotions are trying to communicate to us. I have never found self-talk to be of any help. As the quote from Bob Proctor so nicely states, “Don’t be a victim of negative self-talk – remember you are listening.” On the other hand, an ability to remain silent and control reactionary forces is always of use and can guide us through turbulent times.

HAVE COURAGE TO LISTERN TO OTHERS Listening is a difficult and challenging skill. It takes courage to listen to others. Winston Churchill writes regarding this pursuit: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” We have archetypes of action and heroism but, let us not forget, the strength it takes to listen to others. To collaborate and effectively communicate, there must be a desire to genuinely listen, with both attentiveness and care. By the sheer frequency of times we turn to smartphones during encounters, you can see a significant weakness in our ability to connect.

As a call to action, go out this week and fight the desire to interject and interrupt. Be silent and listen, and you quickly come to appreciate the wealth of knowledge available to you. At the very least, follow the words of Epictetus and aim to listen twice as much as you speak.


MEDICINE & MACULA: It was a real pleasure to be on the Savvy Business Radio Podcast! You can check out my interview, which aired on Thursday August 17, here.

We talk about decisions, procrastination and effective entrepreneurial platforms. Check it out as well as all the other excellent past episodes available.


GRATIS: Last Sunday (August 13) Citrus Therapeutics, cofounded by Eric Chin and myself, were selected as finalists for the inaugural ASRS Winning Pitch Challenge.

We presented rationale for our new early phase therapeutic, CTX1, a novel agent for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Although we did not win, we are grateful for the feedback and honored to be on stage with a diverse group of innovative retina specialists. The “Shark Tank” atmosphere with a fantastic panel of judges and investors was a lot of fun and we look forward to more in the future.

For more info, check out the Citrus Therapeutics website here.


My best to you,

David Almeida

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