I am going to explore why listening to others is important. Particularly ‘actively’ listening. That is the act of showing verbal and non verbal signs of listening, with non judgement. It is key to empathetic engagement, genuine relationships and the cultivation of positive emotions and wellbeing.
Let me take you on a journey…
Standing at the ocean’s edge looking out, I was one of those kids that believed the ocean continuously flowed on. Reaching places farther and greater than I could capture with my eyes. If someone else was to tell me otherwise, such as that it came to a halt on the horizon, I would give them the time to voice their opinion. To do so, involves actively listening with all senses. Yet, I too am human and as such, am always learning and working on improving my skills in this area.
Shutting other’s opinions down without actively listening or hearing them out, does not trigger us to think beyond what we know. Read on to find out why.
Imagine a square. Quadrant 1: rests what you know you know. Quadrant 2: rests what you know you don’t know. Quadrant 3: rests what you don’t know you know. Quadrant 4: rests what you don’t know you don’t know.
By holding space for others and patiently hearing them out, can help reduce the ambiguity of the vast and expansive Quadrant 4 (what you don’t know you don’t know) – i.e. the unknown! In doing so, you may very well discover something that you once had no idea about. Like smack bang in the face, being brought forth to your consciousness.
There is an additional reason why actively listening to others is important. And that’s…
THE GOLDEN RULE
Surely you’ve heard of the Golden Rule, “treat others how you want to be treated.” Sometimes it takes actively listening to other’s opinions to have it reciprocated. And by having it reciprocated, it may very well give you the courage to start believing in your own internal compass.
Better yet, your own madness. And sometimes, just SOMETIMES it’s that madness that elevates us to new heights. Or, allows us to gift the world with something new.
MORAL OF THE STORY
This brings me to the MORAL OF THE STORY:
- Go easy on people,
- Trust your own madness.
For the upcoming week and onwards, I encourage you to practice actively listening to others. This includes establishing rapport, your focused attention, the incorporation of aligned body language, an appropriate response to what you are hearing and deferring judgement. Here are some more tips on becoming a better listener.
The practice of actively listening will ultimately assist with self growth, the formation of stronger relationships and a multitude of benefits personally and professionally.