Listening and hearing are two separate actions. We all listen, Right? Wrong.
Are you listening to learn and absorb, or listening to refute and reply?
Distinguishing the two and when to put each into action can open a world of opportunities. I know it is a common goal to leave your individual imprint behind, but, it’s important to be open to constantly widening your horizons. And that doesn’t happen if you aren’t listening.
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Are you an open or closed listener?
“We typically seek first to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey
This is a deep one, and I love it. “..We typically seek first to be understood…” that right there is powerful.
It’s a natural human default to want to be accepted and understood. This is done instinctively by subconsciously doing things like bringing attention to insecurities as a joke.
Or poking fun at yourself before others notice just to get it out there to give the understanding of “this isn’t my best” first. Right?
Well how far does that go?
It’s another natural desire to want to prove a point, we want to be understood.
Rather than listening to truly absorb what the other person is saying, it’s natural to be in your head thinking, waiting to find a break to fit an already formed thought in.
With this thought process it’s hard for anything to be gained other than a heavily one-sided conversation.
Have you ever talked to someone like this? It can feel like talking to a wall.
When having a conversation do you find that you are thinking a lot while the other is talking or are you actively listening?
Are you absorbing what the other is saying or is it going in one ear and out the other?
When you hear a different viewpoint, does your mind go straight to counter arguments or is it open and willing to see a new perspective?
And remember, just because you are capable of seeing something in a new light doesn’t mean your foundational beliefs have to change.
Simply allow your thoughts and opinions to form after you’ve considered all of what is being said. Don’t jump the gun.
When you shut down the idea of something before it’s fully formed you are closing doors on your own intelligence. No growth can be done when reciting what you already know.
Mindful moment challenges make you really tune in and reflect on a certain aspect in your life. In this case it’s what kind of listener you are!
Become aware with how you sort and absorb the words given to you each day. Gain a new perspective with an “outsider looking in” mentality as you oversee your thoughts and pre-set defaults from a higher consciousness and awareness.
For the next 72 hours set your intention on listening and follow these steps to tune in:
Set a daily positive affirmation.
First thing in the morning set your intention for the day with a positive affirmation along the lines of:
“Today I will receive information and words from others as the gift they are. I will not let the purity of their thought be clouded by judgement, pre-meditated thought or by mindless distraction. I will be conscious and aware that through silence, both physical and mental, growth begins. Today I will listen. Today I will grow”
Yep, unheard of, I know. But this ties into our intent affirmation, through silence growth begins. I’m not saying take a vow of silence for 3 days, but practice a 90/10 ratio of listening/speaking so you can truly observe your listening skills.
This may be the most important part of the challenge. Your mind’s mind is going to take over here and basically evaluate how your defaults are set.
- Do you naturally listen or mainly just hear to topic-jump from one story to the next from your own life?
- Are you constantly finding ways to bring the conversation back to you?
- Do you contribute to the conversation or take away from their light by stepping on their toes or infringing on their thought?
- Is it common for you to think about other things relevant and non-relevant while talking to others?
Ready, set, go!
3 simple steps for 3 days, easy enough right?
It’s time to check your agenda at the door – It is not a time to set out to teach someone a lesson or your point of view, it’s a time of self-reflection.
When engaged in conversations, truly engage and take in what people are saying. Being still and silent is a healthy habit, it’s crazy how much people will tell you when uninterrupted.
Take time to notice how often something pops into your head to add, think about whether it will contradict or support what the other is talking about.
Think about whether it will bring the attention to you. A lot of times we like to talk about ourselves, we don’t realize how naturally we are constantly playing tug-of-war in a conversation to have the lime-light.
This challenge was a definite eye-opener for me and I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Listening is the foundational tool of communicating, while it doesn’t stop here, it all starts with your ears!
Be ready to learn about other ways to listen mindfully to become more connected to ourselves alongside those around us.
until next time,