First Listen


Once there was a team of very educated men who were doing aid work in Africa. They were helping an impoverished village develop agriculture for sustenance and financial development. They were sure that they had an answer that the native people must have never thought of.

The team of PhD's were so pleased with themselves that they were eager to get started. Immediately they mobilized volunteers to began tilling new fields and planting crops. They tended to the crops and within weeks their hard labor was rewarded with lush fruits and vegetables.

"Look how easy agriculture is!" The team beamed as they gloated to the local African natives.

Overnight, when the crops were ripe and ready to be picked hundreds of hippos came from the nearby river eating everything and trampling what was not eaten.

"My God, the hippos!" The team exclaimed!

The natives laughed and said, "Yes, that's why we have no agriculture here!"

"Why didn't you tell us?" The team asked.

"You never asked." The natives responded.

The moral of the story should be pretty obvious: Don't plant crops by rivers where hippos live... and if you really want to help someone, first listen to them.

Keep going,

*Story paraphrased from Dr. Ernesto Sirolli's 2012 Ted Talk


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