"Where There are Friends, There is Wealth"
- Plautas (3rd century)
“Listening pulls you into the current moment of your life” - Ariel and Shya Kane
(much of what I have learned about listening is from them: www.transformationmadeeasy.com)
Notice that the quote above doesn’t say anything about what listening does for others, even though I think people can really feel when you are truly listening. But surprisingly, that quote says that listening helps pull YOU into the current moment of YOUR own life.
Do you realize how much head clutter you and I live with every day? Our heads are worse than our closets with clutter and more like the junk drawer in the kitchen. Click "Read More" to continue...
What is cluttering our heads so much?
-Agreeing and disagreeing with what others say
-Projecting possible future outcomes
-Considering worst case scenarios
-Rehashing conversations from the past
-Thinking about all we need to get done with never enough time to accomplish it all
The list is as endless as the chatter in our heads.
I feel exhausted just listing all those things. It’s a list full of heavy “should’s” and “ought to’s” “not good enough’s”.
Now, the caveat (for those of you who are busy agreeing or disagreeing with what I've said so far) is that some of these things can be very helpful and useful when you need them. Yes, it is important to think and evaluate things. I’m just saying that you don’t need them all the time. Most of the time they get in the way of being fully present in our lives.
Like brakes in a car, they are extremely important when you need them. But if you are constantly braking while trying to move forward in your life, it will wear you out!
Here’s the key: True listening can only happen when we are fully present. And interestingly, listening itself helps you accomplish this, because it pulls you into the present moment.
How can we begin to practice this?
By letting go of all that thinking and evaluating. Don’t worry, those thinking skills will always be there. You can go pick them up when you need them. But for now, when you have the opportunity, just practice letting go of all that and just listen.
Just be there and receive what they have to say from their view and experience of life. There is no need to protect your own opinions. Those will be there when you need them. You don’t need to cut people off, and force your opinion into the situation. You really can just relax and listen and receive what another is saying as if it’s new information.
I believe this is powerful stuff! It’s like a double edged sword that cuts both ways- benefiting both our own lives as well as those around us.
This kind of listening is a tool we can practice to help us get more present and heighten our experience of living in our own lives. That in itself is powerful. How many people do you know who seem like they are just existing, barely making it through their own lives, let alone really living them and “sucking the marrow out of life” (Dead Poet’s Society)?
Real listening not only helps you, but it helps your relationships with others. This skill of listening- really listening, dropping our agendas and thoughts and just being present to receive what others share- is the most important practical skill that we can practice to build our relational wealth.
Practice the fundamentals of listening daily
I practice this skill every day. It’s a fundamental skill for living a full and relationally wealthy life!
I am a musician. When I sit down to practice music I start by warming up my instrument or my voice by playing scales. Now when I play these scales, am I making music? Yes! Is it enjoyable to listen to and is it the end goal? No, the end goal is to play a song, but the scales are the fundamental units of music that make up the more complicated thing called a song.
So it is with listening. It is a fundamental skill that I practice every day, and highly recommend you do as well. You are going to encounter people every day. Now that you are a little more aware of your head chatter, try to set that aside for a moment and practice real listening.
Another cool thing about music is that it involves the skill of listening. And as you listen to the music, it pulls you into the moment, which is one of the reasons music is so powerful. As you really listen to some beautiful music, and get pulled into the moment, you forget all your head chatter and you are fully alive in that moment.
I can guarantee that true listening will change your life. You will be more present in your own life, and others will feel the power of being really heard. They can’t help but to feel positively about you and enjoy their time with you. In this way you will be building your relational wealth.
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry"
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Joel is a husband, father, musician, and lover of life; especially life that is shared with the wealth of amazing friends and family he is blessed to have near.