How well would you listen if you knew your life depended on it?
Odds are you’d become a pretty great listener, pretty darn quick.
The thing is, good listeners seem hard to come by. Part of the reason why is because listening doesn’t seem that fun all the time.
It’s easy to half-listen. People speak and we listen enough to comprehend what they’re saying but in reality we just wait for the other person to finish.
I notice this scenario play out in my life sometimes. I’ll be in a conversation with someone and I’ll have this uncomfortable feeling of discomfort based on an expectation that the conversation is going to be unpleasant.
When you have an expectation a conversation is going to be unpleasant, you’re setting yourself up for failure. So if listening is sometimes a struggle for you, you’ve got to hack you system.
Over the years I’ve invested a lot of time in learning how to listen.
Thousands of hours. No joke.
This is through my experience with mindfulness meditation, where oftentimes all I’m focusing on is listening to the sounds around me. It’s the simplest practice, and it’s had a profound impact on my life.
When you’re really listening, your brain is focused on the present moment. When it’s focused on the present, it’s not focused on all those other thoughts we might normally get lost in.
For many people, being lost in thought isn’t pleasant. The mind has a funny way of focusing on things that don’t truly make us happy when we’re not careful. The untrained mind can create a living hell, and it’s our responsibility to do as much as we can to prevent that.
At this point in your life, you’re a grown up. At this point, you alone have the potential to create your reality.
Through listening you can tune back into the present moment. You can connect back with reality.
It seems so simple, but the simplicity of reality actually is a wonderful thing. The more we can connect with it, the more joy we will experience. Joy arises spontaneously when we’re connected with the present.
Listening is hard, but with practice we can all get better at it. That’s why it’s important to practice each day. To get a little better each day.
Today I challenge you to be the best possible listener you can be.
In conversation, try to listen as if someone was telling you information that your life depended on. Hang on their every word. Listen for the sounds of silence in between words. Listen to their breaths.
If you’re practicing on your own, see just how much you can notice in whatever time you choose to apply your listening.
You don’t have to listen this way 100% of the time, but I think it’s good to apply this type of extreme listening at least a little every day. That practice will pay off down the road when there comes a time where you really want to listen to something someone’s saying.
Most importantly, have fun listening. See if you can find ways to make listening fun for you. If you find something that works for you, send me a DM on instagram or leave a comment below and let me know your tip so I can try!
Happy listening my friend.