Recently I was standing in an airport store called Listen Up and was greeted by a wall of earphones. The variety was overwhelming: noise canceling (not sure what that actually means…do they play music or are they silent?); giant earpieces that reminded me of my mother listening to Cat Stevens in the 70’s; tiny flashing bits that fit inside your ear; and sporty models that clip onto various body parts. As much as I love and appreciate fine quality music tools, I was more struck by the thought of the solitude these ear pieces would create. They would allow me to listen, but would I be hearing what is most important? For my upcoming flight, my options were to listen to my playlists – old songs I had heard someone sing many times before. I wondered what I would be missing if I instead chose to listen to the world around me. Perhaps wise words from the pilot during my flight? An interesting story from my seat neighbor?
In a world of imagery, text messages,social media, electronic billboards and high tech gadgets, the capacity to really listen has more often than not turned into snippets rather than impromptu conversations, phone calls and dialogue with one another. We are missing that connection with the world we are standing in right at that moment when we allow ourselves these incessant distractions.
So, I decided I would pass on the new earbuds, and strike up a conversation with my seat buddy on my upcoming flight. I made a commitment to listen intently and learn from this new person. Good or bad, I knew it would be an experience, one that would help me tune in, and practice and enhance my listening skills. Unless they had earphones in…
Try A Live In Dog Years Moment
Practice your listening today. Focus on and digest what is around you today. Try not to think of a response before a dialogue is done, or about the next thing on your list. Just listen. After all, when is the last time you saw your pooch with earphones in, ignoring the world around him/her? Share with us what you learn or enjoy!
“The art of conversation lies in listening”
― Malcolm S. Forbes