“Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” — Larry King
Hearing is easy—we can hear with little effort—it’s the listening that requires effort. To truly listen we have to shut off the distractions of everything else to offer our minds the peace and quiet needed to really hear and to truly listen.
There's a woman I know who has the gift of listening. Every time I speak with her I can easily tell that she's genuinely interested in what I'm saying, taking it all in without being distracted by her inner thoughts or outer distractions. And it's not just with me; once I recognized this talent in her I was careful to observe her as she listened to others, and it was always the same: her full attention leans into whoever is interacting with her. It's an enviable gift and I aspire to acquire such an important skill.
The Magic Word Listen suggests that we give others the gift of your full attention, and following through with this every day reminds us that genuinely listening can have the power to turn even an enemy into a friend.
Have you been genuinely listening lately? Or have you found yourself too distracted by your own inner thoughts or outer distractions. Pay attention to your listening. If you catch yourself talking more than you’re listening, or overthinking things more than you’re listening, then take a simple back, reaffirm your desire to sincerely listen, and then start again.
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.