Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

The Lost Art of Listening

Listening UpIn my daily life at work and at home I have noticed a trend about “listening” .

It seems like a lot of people today have lost the art of listening.

Yes, we all listen to things. The TV, the movies, the music we listen to… we listen to our teachers.mentors, bosses, or spiritual guides and take note of their wisdom (many times to our own chagrin as we find it necessary to help pass the course).  But listening and hearing things can often be different I think.

The lost art of listening, as I see it, is the motion of listening to what someone says and understanding it. Making sure to understand the meaning and the context in which they say it, and better yet understand their personal reason and viewpoint for saying it in the first place.

These days it seems like we don’t take the time. Perhaps it is because we are in so much of a hurry. We move so quickly through our digital lives to meet the goal of accomplishing it – that we often miss what people are really trying to say… in fact we are so busy trying to think about what  we should say next, that we take a sound byte from something to start to respond without really “hearing” what was said. Without acknowledging it.

Perhaps the reason that “texting” has become more of a popular way to communicate. After its a 2 way communication  that requires that each actually reads the statement made in the text message. No need to call and have two way communication that  may certainly require listening.

Sure, maybe the texts aren’t spelled correctly, perhaps they are sound-bytes themselves, but at least they come over just as planned.  Indeed texting doesn’t require actually listening at all.  But there is still something lost in the transfer. The persons inflection and the world of meaning that comes with the tone of it. Of course there is time to consider the response, immediate responses come from the volley of discussion. None needed in texting.

Listening has evolved in so many other ways. In this “surround sound” world we are looking for the thrills and impact of the movies we watch. Instead of dialog, we are looking for stunning sound and special effects.  Driving the beat instead of the message is nothing new, but so often today the music gets lost as we are looking for. It gets lost in the next pop-star to come along. Those artist & musicians that have survived had something more to say… and for those music greats  it is about the “listening”.

So maybe for me, its time to stop and take a listen. To appreciate what people are trying to say with their words. The meaning of it. To take the time to listen to the sounds around me, that surround me in such a much more simple way.  How about you?

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4 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Listening

  1. Oh I agree so much with you, mg. I am often in too much of a hurry to listen properly, but I am trying to change that. There is so much more understanding when we stop and look at the person who is talking to us, see the expression, the look in the eyes…all these factors amount to being a good listener.

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    • Thanks Hope, I am working on it as well. It is much easier to say than to do. Finally see where my kids like texting on their smartphone rather than talking on it.

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  2. This is one of my favourite topics – the art of listening. I have heard some great advice – that we need to listen to what’s not being said, as well as what is being said. That the art of listening is not just hearing words, but noticing body language, maintaining eye contact etc. I think there are very few acts as completely selfless and generous as the act of listening with our full and open attention.

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    • Totally agree with you on that one. Very insightful observations indeed. I see there are alot of books and seminars on the topic. Much of it is just putting listening as a priority and making it a practice to do so. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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