Our society is so focused on ourselves that we all too often forget about others. Conversations can turn into a one sided monologue rather than a genuine discussion.
Since reading this article I have become more aware that I am certainly guilty of the actions described below. I thought that I would share what I believe to be a valuable life lesson.
An extract from ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’,
Habit 5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD
Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Probably none, right?
If you’re like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you’re listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely.
So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
“Oh, I know just how you feel. I felt the same way.”
“I had that same thing happen to me.”
“Let me tell you what I did in a similar situation.”
Because you so often listen autobiographically, you tend to respond in one of four ways:
Evaluating: You judge and then either agree or disagree. Probing: You ask questions from your own frame of reference.
Advising: You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
Interpreting: You analyse others’ motives and behaviours based on your own experiences.
You might be saying, “Hey, now wait a minute. I’m just trying to relate to the person by drawing on my own experiences. Is that so bad?” In some situations, autobiographical responses may be appropriate, such as when another person specifically asks for help from your point of view. But if they haven’t asked to hear about your personal experiences which relate to the situation, then there is absolutely no reason to tell them.
So people, I encourage you to stop and listen. Conversations are so much more stimulating when we stop trying to be heard, and instead focus on actually understanding the other person, and learning from them. Everyone has something interesting to say.
This post has nothing to do with travel, just some food for thought. To make it slightly travel related I’ve left you with a few travel photos below.
P.S I have scored a job at great law firm. This combined with university has meant my blog updates have been seriously suffering. I do apologise and promise that there will be more posts to come!