To Understand - Inspiration Thursday

"The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand.  We listen to reply." - unknown
I think a lot of people are often guilty of this.  I know I can be.  I know many, many others (really nice, honest people) who can be, too.  And if I think about it, it makes sense.  We all have a story to tell and we all think its a good one, so its understandable that we're in a hurry to tell it.  But, its selling the conversation short, I think.  Its not showing a tremendous amount of respect to the one who is talking.  We finish each others sentences, rushing the thought to completion, as if we know better than the speaker how the phrase should end.  We do not respond to the stories of our companions, except with a story of our own.  No real comment on what was said, just a here is-a-story-sort-of-like-that-only-starring-me-instead-of-you.  Now that I've become aware of this verbal phenomenon--thanks, Matt Fockler--I cannot help but to notice it all around me.  I know that sharing our stories is a big part of how we relate to the world.  Its a good thing.  I don't mean to imply otherwise.  However, listening to and gaining understanding of others is an equally big part of relating to our world--and each other.  Who knows what sort of connections and insights could be made and the ripple effect of these insights.
I'm going to work on this.  I know I could be a better listener and part of me thinks that the world could stand a few more better listeners.  I'd like to be one.
All photos from Yellowstone National Park, May 2014.


  1. Interesting you should mention this: my brother just read a book called "The Zen of Listening", I think. He is buying two copies for his employees for Christmas, because he thinks it's so important to be better listeners to their clients. I know I'm guilty of this - it's not easy to change, either.


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