Listen. . .
In todays world we are often coached, told or informed to take our stance or honor our thoughts and positions on both the the mundane and the meaningful. To not be side stepped or avoided. Sure there is value in taking care yourself and honoring your values, decisions and more. But the core of any endeavor is a skill we all can focus on a bit more. . .
Listening can feel at times like a lost art, maybe because we are communicating so much more electronically. That’s too bad, because being a good listener can help us in every aspect of our life – with family and friends, and others.
Think of listening as a form of meditation. You have to clear your mind of everything else, so you can focus entirely on what the other person is saying. Make sure your mind is focused on the conversation and not your to do list. Try to focus fully on the other person, pushing away the thoughts about the groceries you need to get or the declines you need to meet.
The best kind of listening is about being comfortable not knowing what you’re going to say next, or what question you might ask. Trust that you’ll think of something in the moment based on what the other person just said. That will send a powerful signal to the other person that you’re truly listening to them.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “it’s better to be interested than interesting?” That idea can seem downright contrarian in this era of self indulgent importance about all the fascinating things we’re doing in our lives (and that we assume other people will want to know about). But why not think about listening as a ticket to a free education? All you have to do is assume that everyone you meet has learned a thing or two in their lives, and that you can benefit from those insights with a combination of genuine interest.
Listening, done well, is an act of empathy. You are trying to see the world through another person’s eyes, and to understand their emotions. If you go into discussions with the main goal of understanding the other person(s) perspective, free of any judgment, conversations will open up to you, because others will feel they can trust you to respect what they are saying and you will grow from that energy as well.
Peace and Love, Jim