My wife would acknowledge the fact that at times I have a huge problem with paying attention. The problem is that I have a serious case of “one-track mindedness.” If I am focused on a certain task it is virtually impossible to get me to listen to, think about, or do anything else.
When I was single, I lived with a couple of my best friends from high school. I was working on a project on the computer upstairs and Blake and Jon wanted to know if I was going to go with them to the church for soccer night (we played indoor every Tuesday and Thursday night). Both of them yelled out my name from downstairs to which they got no reply. Then each of them attempted to come upstairs and ask if I was going. As they each came up, I knew in the back of my mind that they were in the room with me and wanted something, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying because I had pre-set my mind to think that anything outside of what I was doing at the time was less important.
Ten minutes later I came downstairs to 2 bewildered friends. They wanted to know why I was mad at them. I had no recollection that they had been to my room or even tried to get my attention. It was funny at the time but sometimes it can be a real problem.
I’m sure I may be an extreme case but I also believe there are many out there that can sympathize with me to some extent. The point is, we need to train our brain to be able to listen. Other people’s ideas are essential to our progression and to the sparking and fueling of our own ideas. The 787 Dreamliner would have never been a reality if the Wright Brothers had not had the idea of “wing warping.” Wing warping is a method of arching the wingtips slightly to control the aircraft’s rolling motion and balance and was the key idea that finally got an aircraft to take flight.
Listening is not merely hearing. I could hear my friends talking to me but I wasn’t listening so nothing registered. People can tell when we are listening and when we are not. When we do, they feel needed and important which makes them trust us more and want to help us when we need them. This is important for employer/employee relationships as well as any relationship.
Humility is another important trait that goes hand in hand with listening. To truly listen and esteem someone else’s views as being of worth is an act of humility. It’s virtually impossible to learn and grow without humility. Pride has a damning effect on our ability to increase in knowledge. Thus, listening is vital to our success as husbands and wives, friends, and as businessmen or women.
Who can you take the time to listen to today that you may have blown off in the past? I promise you’ll notice a difference in your day.