Recently in my men’s group, after I was sharing how important the Chinese Ideogram of “Do Shim” (Way of the Heart) was so pivotal for me and my life, a fellow member, a famous musician, shared the ideogram “Ting” with the group, Ting means “to listen”.
As you can see from the illustration, “to listen” requires five qualities;
– The ears of course to hear
– The eyes because the majority of communication is non-verbal and active listening requires you to look as much as to hear
– The mind because if you are not taking in what you are hearing, you’re not really listening
– The single bar of undivided attention, not distracted by what’s going on around but focused on the individual speaking
– And finally, but most importantly, the heart, listening to connect, not confront, criticize, or condemn but wholeheartedly with love and connection.
How many of us truly listen?
Stephen Covey wrote about it in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit 5, “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”
Listening skills are key for developing healthy long-term relationships
Keynote speakers and self-development gurus all admonish us to, “listen to understand, and not listen to reply.” Waiting for the opening so that you can say what’s on your mind and not really take in what the other person was speaking about.
What’s the cost of not listening?
Miscommunication, misunderstanding, misperceptions, and damaging relationships are all the things that happen when we don’t listen, truly listen.
How many arguments and fights have you been in, only later to realize that the two of you were talking about the same thing, but using slightly different language or perspective and the misunderstanding led to a stupid argument?
How many missed opportunities, speedbumps turning into walls, and relationships, business or personal, forever damaged because you didn’t take the time to just be still and listen?
To listen requires an open heart and mind, the willingness to hold space for the other person so that you can hear and see what (s)he has to share, and it requires the two of you to become one with each other’s undivided attention and focus.
Anything less is not listening, it’s just taking up space.