9. Listen, listen, and listen some more. THEN speak.
Oprah, my reverend and spiritual advisor (obvy), has a great quote:
“We’re all looking to know ‘did you see me, did you hear me, and did what I say mean anything to you’.”
Human interactions are rarely just about the exchange of information. Unless you’re checking out groceries at a store, there’s a good chance that the interaction you’re having is more than just a means to an end. Conversations are opportunities for people to exhibit their personality, share a piece of themselves, and feel around for a piece of who you are.
Similarly, arguments are rarely about achieving a means to an end–like being “right”–but about feeling heard, being understood, and having your perspective appreciated. Interacting with fellow man is complex, and that’s why it’s so important that we do more listening.
You already know your perspectives. Spend enough time focusing on them and you’ll know them very well.
But what you don’t know are the 7 billion other perspectives that exist in the world. It is arrogant, and foolish really, to assume that your one perspective of the 7 billion others is the end-all-be-all of what is “right”.
In fact, I would argue it’s our duty as human beings to put ourselves out in the world and challenge the views we hold so close. Remove yourself from the boxed mindset that comes from never considering the possibilities outside those you know. Be vulnerable enough to listen more than you speak…to not assume that you hold all the wisdom and knowledge to be had. Allow someone to show you something.
We learn more by listening than by speaking, but the ego can’t shine in silence. It doesn’t like to be quiet, because then how would everyone know what a dazzling beacon of smarts and superiority it is?? ;)
Only in vulnerability can we find the value in choosing to listen more than we seek to be heard.
– ♥ Sade