Hearing is simply an act of perceiving sounds by the ear. But listening is being mindful and consciously understanding what is hidden behind the words. Real listening is an art and helps the person communicating feel heard, cared and supported. This leads to healthy bonding.
Listen more than you speak
We have two ears but only one mouth. So it is only fair that we learn to use them in the same proportion! It has been scientifically reported that the human brain processes language much faster than most people talk. We have the capacity to listen at 125-250 words per minute, but can think at 1000-3000 words per minute. This gives the listener time for forming personal perceptions and stereotyped judgments. Soon after we listen to someone, we recall only about 50% of what they have said and much later we remember only 20% of what we heard.
Funny but true. If you think carefully, you know that LISTEN and SILENT share the same letters. When your mouth opens, your ears automatically close. On the other hand, being quiet gives you the opportunity to hear the words, tone, and the meaning behind the words of the other person. It’s hard to remain silent. It’s even harder to remain silent until someone has completely finished expressing what he/she has in mind.
Anyone of us with the gift of hearing has the potential for being a good listener. Unfortunately, not all actually work on their potential. Most people take their listening ability for granted. One of the barriers to effective listening is noise. Noise can refer to loud and distracting sounds in the background outside. At least one can do something to control it. But what about the the noise inside? Noise inside means loud and distracting thoughts. You have to quieten the mind and not allow the passing thoughts distract your attention. Otherwise you’ll never be able to listen effectively. Remaining quiet requires practice. We will discuss it elaborately as we progress into techniques of finding Happiness.
You will feel happier not only by understanding yourself, but also by understanding the people around you. It is as important to understand others as it is to be understood by others. In the absence of listening we only briefly hear what the other is expressing. It is essential to try and understand what the other person means before speaking out your thoughts. And the easiest & simplest way is to listen more than you speak. Listen to understand, not to respond.
Good listeners learn to ‘listen’ with their eyes as well as with their ears, paying 100% undivided attention to the speaker. Effective listening helps to resolve conflicts, build trust, inspire people, and strengthen relationships.