My latest self-improvement goal: listen better.
I’m just looking for something to write, so my blog doesn’t feel too empty and soulless.
But yeah I’ve caught myself missing the “jist” of what other people tell me sometimes. The pattern I notice is that I’m usually very excited and eager for my turn to talk, it feels like I’m formulating my own ideas passionately on-the-fly and not leaving much dough for the other person to play with.
The inverse is to a lesser degree true, sometimes people don’t understand me well at all. And unless they’re just dumb, it’s almost always because they too are passionate in their ideas; eager to talk. I’ve found a solution to this in an unlikely place: silence. It started by accident last week when I was super-tired. I needed help with something, stated my problem quickly and clearly, but the girl totally missed it. She started going on-and-on down the wrong road. Normally I’d cut her off, correct her. But I was too tired to even care. I just stayed quiet in calm apathy. Then something incredible happened: she just figured it all out. Yeah, just letting her talk it all out, she fixed every error in her comprehension of me and then helped me. She was very happy too. I realized that if I was her, I’d probably want the same thing.
So I started doing this. When people get it “all wrong”, just let them go for a while. Give them a chance. I guess in a word, this is called patience. I’ve always understood patience as a virtue against explosive anger, but perhaps there’s important nuance to it, too.