Listening: A skillset
There are many reasons I could give for you to learn effective listening skills. There are equally many reasons I could provide that you should listen.
Think about it, why do you listen?
Is it for enjoyment?
Is it to learn something?
Is it acquiring information?
Is it to gain understanding?
If a person is speaking and you are speaking, you aren’t listening. You are too busy speaking to effectively listen to what is being said. If you find yourself asking questions that were already answered then this is personal affirmation that not only were you not listening you did not have the correct reason for listening. You missed the information you needed, you did not learn anything and you certainly don’t understand which is why you are asking the question for the second time.
Becoming a good listener doesn’t happen overnight, it takes practice. It also takes learning new ways to listen. You should constantly pursue learning and in new ways to ascend to higher levels of being. Otherwise, not only will you stagnate you may repeat the errors of your past and again receive personal affirmation that you are not growing or evolving as a person. You are in a rut. You may need to be disrupted and perhaps even be deconstructed to change your habits.
Some people are talkers and it’s yap, yap, yap and they aren’t really saying anything. They are just thinking out loud. Most people have thoughts that would be better left in their skulls. In fact, some people should just shut up and listen. To be an effective communicator this takes self-awareness and most people are not self-aware. If you want to be heard you also have to adjust to the unique listening skills of those you are communicating with. Case in point, you can tuck that counterproductive pride away and communicate with effectiveness. If you want to leave an impression on a person i.e. imprint them with the information, help them learn something, or entertain them; then you have to be self-aware enough to know when to make those adjustments.
Most people are creatures of habit and are lazy. It takes work to become more than you are in this moment. People don’t really enjoy working for the most part. Work is hard, and takes effort. It also takes true will. Not this ‘free will’ bullshit peddled wholesale, but the will that is truer than that will forced by influences you are unaware of. A self-aware person knows when they are using true will vs. forced will or compulsion. It would behoove you to keep your compulsions in check too.
If a person is speaking and your compulsion is to inject but you’ve stopped listening…Then you should manage your compulsions. You are your own worst adversary. You can be adversarial to the self and this battle often rages on when you are trying to grow. It’s easier to be the same. That doesn’t take work. All it takes is being lazy, doing nothing productive and repeating the same patterns of behavior.
I used to take a lot of these ‘self-help seminars, most of them are truly boring and repetitions of the same bullshit parroted by one motivational coach to another. They all read the same books and defer to the same ‘experts’ for insight. It doesn’t mean they are all useless. If you listen and listen well you learn some new tips. Even if a 2 hour seminar produces 2 pieces of info that is useful well then it’s not been a complete waste of time.
I’ll share a couple of bits with you, maybe you’ll learn something:
Tip#1 Active listening:
Two words right? Active + Listening. What does it mean when you put them together?
Active = the opposite of passive
Listening = paying attention and lending your ear to hear. A way for an impression to be conveyed by way of auditory method.
Together this is a conscious effort to pay attention, receive the impression and have a moment to process what you have received. This may prompt questions to assure you’ve fully understood the message. This is not a time for you to tell the person speaking what they are sending, but rather a time for you to LISTEN to all that is being said, obtain the information, and learn what the sender is trying to imprint upon you, process it and decide the next course of action to take.
A person may be purposely imprinting you with mixed messages. You may miss them if you are not listening. This imprinting may have an underlying agenda you might miss if you are not being an effective listener. Imprinting is a tool employed by many for both positive and negative effects. Imprinting is in the skillset of the Bullshit Artist. Don’t fall for the bullshit.
Tip#2 Remember Yourself:
If in listening you feel a reaction coming on, pay attention to it. If you are reacting emotionally, take a moment to reflect on why. Remember your pathology and pay attention to it. Remember Yourself.
If you have received internal confirmation that your reaction is justified do not act right away. If the person you are listening to is still speaking, continue to listen to obtain more information. Pay attention to details. Not just what is verbally being spoken but the tone, and added embellishments. When the person has finished, now is the time to clarify the imprinting. First, you have to ask yourself the question: Is this positive or negative imprinting? Next, your question seeks an answer.
These two tips I’ve provided are crucial, and while they may seem simple and easy enough to understand it doesn’t mean you will both remember them and employ them properly. I will use a model to assist you in remembering them. When using a model it is simply another way to communicate and effectually what I am attempting to mediate here, which is an understanding of my meaning.
The Buddhist 8 Fold Path. I am not telling you to follow the 8 Fold Path. I am telling you I am using a model. You are reading the words on your screen and I am asking you to actively listen to what I am saying to you through the written word.
This model is simply providing a way to check yourself:
Do you have the correct view?
Is what is being imprinted on you with the intent known to you?
Is the speech being used to imprint you the correct way to fulfill the intention?
Will you take the correct action?
In what manner will this imprinting affect you..?Your livelihood?
Have you acquired knowledge from listening to achieve superior knowledge?
In listening does it provide you with some level of self-liberation?
DivisionEightfold Path factorsAcquired factorsWisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)1. Right view9. Superior right knowledge2. Right intention10. Superior right liberationEthical conduct (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
Concentration (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
These factors in the Buddhist context strive towards enlightenment. What does it mean to become enlightened?
There are many modern contexts which may be referred to when deferred to reference texts. Let’s say I use a simple dictionary (Dictionary.com):
en·light·en [en-lahyt-n] Show IPA verb (used with object) 1. to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impartknowledge to: We hope the results of our researchwill enlighten our colleagues. 2. Archaic . to shed light upon.
In the context of what the Buddhists/Hindus intended it was to achieve Nirvana from detachment from desire and suffering. Nirvana can be likened to complete ecstasy in existing, to be happy and satisfied with no need to desire things because you have satisfaction in what you have. Even if you were naked in the woods, you have all that you’ll ever need.
Equally, when listening it should be with this ascension and growth I speak of in mind. Stagnation leads to inactivity, to nothingness, to death. Some active listeners are seeking to acquire a higher level of knowledge. This knowledge leads to a Gnosis that aids a person in achieving their own personal Nirvana. Nirvana represents the satisfaction of your life. One day you may be lying on your death bed in a state of regret and bitterness because you shoulda, coulda, woulda done something more with your life if time hadn’t slipped by so fast. Every day you live is a step closer to your death bed. People often waste time and death waits for every man, woman and child. Time waits for no one. It is spent and often with the incorrect actions taken to ensure Nirvana is reached.
Listen. That’s my advice.