Close your eyes and concentrate. Listen carefully to all the sounds around you. What do you hear? Go ahead…… DO IT!!
As I sat sun bathing at the pool today, it occurred to me that I was ‘tuning out’ a lot of the sounds around me. Now remember, I’m at a pool in a Senior Community and it’s pretty quite. Just my husband and I at the pool….. both of us just basking in the sun at the moment. What could I hear?
The first thing I noticed was the cars on the busy street about a block or so away. Then I noticed the leafs on the trees making a rustling noise as the breeze blew through and the birds singing in the trees. Oh….. don’t forget the voice in my head talking to me! You know… the one making the mental list of the noises I was hearing! My husband made some noise as he got up and went over to the hot tub to sit for a while. Yes…. the slight noise of the hot tub jets. A few minutes later a car drove by on the street directly by the pool. Then I heard car doors opening and closing and some voices laughing and talking. Now….. for the most part….. if I hadn’t stopped to ‘listen’ to what was going on around me…. I would have ‘tuned’ it out like I normally do and maybe even have fallen asleep. But I chose to listen for a few minutes….. with my eyes closed.
This little observation of mine at the pool today reminded me of a set of CD’s that I have been listening to lately called “Listening for Success”by Steven Shapiro. Taking the time to listen through these CD’s a couple of times has made me very well aware of what a lousy listener I have been! I have a long way to go….but I’m so grateful that I was referred to these CD’s so that I could become aware of the things that I do that I need to change. I need to continue to listen to them with a pen in hand to take notes so that some of what he is saying will stick! That way I can remember some of the terms he uses as he qualifies the different kind of listeners we all are.
On the CD’s, Mr. Shapiro talks about the difference between listening and hearing. (Let me preface that by saying, that I’m grateful that my ears work and I can ‘hear’.) Those of us with hearing capabilities ‘hear’ things all day long…. but how many times are we required to really listen? Even when we are required to listen…. do we really listen to what is being said, or do we just ‘hear’ the noise? He mentioned a friend that he has that is deaf who is one of the best listeners he knows. Because this friend has to listen with all his other senses….. he really pays attention to what is being said.
Another point he brought out is how important it is to listen completely to the other person and not worry about what it is you think you need to interrupt with that you might forget if you don’t say it now. He says that if you immerse yourself completely into listening, that whatever needs to be said in a conversation will be remembered. This is one of the things I really need to work on! So many times I find myself thinking of something I need to say to the person who is talking and being so worried that I’ll forget, that I keep thinking of it and pretty much quit listening! Then I’m only hearing them…… NOT GOOD! I’m going to take his advice and just trust that whatever needs to be said in a conversation will be remembered! It takes work and a conscience effort to change poor habits.
Here’s an excerpt from the description of this CD set that I thought was pertinent to what I’m saying here: It has been said that, “No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut.” All too frequently we mindlessly ignore this vital principle in our business and personal lives. Overcoming the urge to open our mouths when we should be listening is not an easy task, but one that pays dividends in abundance.
Yep….. I need to learn to shut my mouth more! The one bad thing about listening to these CD’s is that you become more aware of the kind of listening skills other people have…. or don’t have! I have noticed in the last few weeks that a couple of people that I spend a fair amount of time with are not very good listeners! And no…. I don’t mean anyone in my family. These friends only listen partially to what I say and then interrupt with something that they think is more important but still pertains to what I’m saying. They also try to ‘fix’ my problem before I can even finishing saying what I want to say. The funny thing is…. I already know what I’m planning to do…. they just never let me get that far to explain! That’s one of the things Mr. Shapiro says a lot of us are guilty of….. trying to ‘fix’ someone instead of just listening and letting them get it off their chests. Very often, he says, the person will come up with their own solution, just by being allowed to talk about it! We don’t always want advice….. sometimes we just need someone to listen.
I’m grateful that I have ears that work. I’m grateful that I’m on a learning curve of becoming a better listener. I know that it will make a difference in my life and the life of those I associate with and love!
I am Grateful! How are you?