So we all talk… we communicate, we convey. What is it that we convey/communicate/talk about ? What sets us apart? Is it the way we deliver our message, is it the content of what we communicate… our ideas, opinions, feelings ? Or is it just sometimes we only want to be heard. But heard by who ? Just anyone? or do the things you say need to be heard by someone who has some sort of connection to you?
Communication is a two-way street. If anyone ever tells you that it isn’t or that they don’t need a receiver they are lying to you. You can make communication a one-way street, but then you’d be talking to yourself. I admit I’ve talked to myself, but usually in short bursts (usually to cuss myself out for doing something utterly stupid). I don’t natter on to myself, and before you pass judgement, I have worked with a few who have done exactly that, talking to themselves (for hours) and about themselves (ie: in the 3rd person), trust me, it is the easiest way to make everyone give you a wide berth.
In today’s world there seems to be an over-abundance of communication, but I think most of it is one-sided. So why is it that we have this need to let everyone know what we are thinking and feeling at all times. With technologies like Facebook, Twitter and blogs people an opportunity to vocalize themselves in an absolute sea of verbal diarrhea. There is so much talking, that there ends up being very few people to listen, or for those to figure out what to listen to… remember the two-way street concept for communication ? Think about this; if you calculated the amount of time spent in communications, would you be the person talking, or the person listening ? or do you think you have a balance there ?
I think I have a pretty good balance and that isn’t just because I’m in a profession where I need to do more listening than talking. There are some professions where that is exactly what you are paid to do… Listen. My cousin is one such example, a clinical psychologist. She gets paid to listen to people and their problems. This isn’t the career for me, and I applaud her for her choice. Also, I don’t think I could have gone to post-secondary for 14 years, like she did.
I’m an only child, and as such, I grew up with a few friends. So for the most part I grew up by myself. I don’t regret that, and I don’t look at my parents and think that they should have had another child just for my amusement. No, instead, I accepted my situation and made the best of it. I like to think that my formative years prepared me well for my life and career. I grew up listening. When I was a child, you spoke when you were spoken to. Hence, I have a pretty good attention span, as you had to know what was going on, especially on those rare occasions you were actually asked a question. But, for the most part, I spent quite a bit of time with my own thoughts. I could quite happily just sit and listen to my thoughts in my head. Have you ever sat down and listened to your own thoughts ? Do you know the sound of your own thoughts ? Do they make sense ? What do they sound like ?
Have you ever sat in a room full of people and just listened ? If you haven’t, try going to a busy coffee shop and doing just that. You may want to disguise your efforts by putting your ear bud headphones in, but refrain from turning your music on. Try to listen not to the content of the messages, but in the way the message is being conveyed. You may be able to learn quite a bit just in the conveyance of the message.
So what did you hear ? More importantly, who did you hear ? With the sea of communication and messages, and all of these things vying for attention/time, what do you spend time listening to ? Just remember, what you consume will feed you, and listening is consuming. You may want to be choosy.