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Are you listening?

There is a LONG back story to how I’ve come to this place of self-realization.  For now, you’ll be spared those details.  I am however contemplating turning my story into a Lifetime movie (more to come).  The title of this blog post says it all…”are you listening”?  Not to me silly, in life, in general.  When someone is talking, are you really listening?

When we first hear this question it comes off a bit insulting.  But stop for a moment, take a step back, really think about it.  When your co-worker told you about the problem they had at home, were you listening?  Or where you simply waiting for them to take a breathe so you could speak?  Here is our reality.  We live in a society that by in large suffers from communication ADHD.  The average person speaks at 200 words a minute but our brains can process 500 words a minute – listening is difficult.  Throw on top of that how connected we are and it’s highly unlikely you’re really listening.  The other (primary) reason we don’t listen, we’d rather talk.  When we talk, we’re in control.  I don’t have to listen to things I’m really not interested in, I’m the center of attention.  There are many self-serving reasons tied to our lack of listening.

I’m not a huge fan of Steven Covey, but I really like his quote on listening:

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

I know I suck at listening, I’ve FINALLY realized this.  For those of you that have suffered through me cutting you off mid-sentence, I apologize.  I actually started taking yoga 2 weeks ago to help me calm my mind, to help me concentrate.  It’s helped but I can see that actively, attentively listening takes effort and practice but I’m committed to improving!  Know this, if you’re not willing to put an effort into listening, you’re really not communicating.  On the flip side, if you do put the effort in, think what you might learn.

Give it a shot tomorrow, take note of the “conversations” you have and grade yourself on how you listened.

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