• Dr. T

Listen to learn, or learn to listen?

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

Our country has embarked on a trajectory of change. But guess what? The national level efforts have little direct effect on your communities. Nothing substantial will change in the near future. Legislation is a slow process, at best. It's time for something else. Something better and much more efficient.

"A race to healing" is a platform to share voices. A platform to spread healing. A platform to inspire others. It is past time to get back to basics - love your neighbor as yourself.

The skill of listening is somewhat complex. Too often people 'hear' but do not 'listen'. Our ears do the actual hearing but our hearts and minds do the listening. Listening to learn is step 2. Learning to listen, however, is step 1.

Learn to listen. When you hear something you disagree with the natural impulse is to tune out until it is your turn to talk. Steven Covey once said, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Changing this paradox won't be easy in a divisive culture, but it is necessary. If you think about it, the media is a one-sided monster. They only talk at you, not with you. Don't mistake their reporting with conversation, because it is far from that.

Conversation: a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.

Listen to learn. One of my favorite heart leaders is the Dalai Lama. "When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” The next time you are engaged in a conversation, talk less. If you want to have those tough conversations, talk less. If you want to be heard, talk less. Sounds paradoxical, but it takes two to have a true conversation and there are many books written on the subject. But for now, self-assess your own listening skills and perhaps you'll make new friends along the way!

Go forth and spend some time honing your listening skills. The world will be a better place.

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