2012 Resolution #22: Listen
Posted on January 22, 2012 by Maria McInnis, One of Thousands of Life Coaches on Noomii.
#22 in our month long series, today about listening to people, your world and your heart.
Resolve to listen this year.
Listening can mean several things. Listening to those around you, observing your environment and listening to your heart are all important things that need to be done in order for happiness to occur. When you listen – when you really listen – things in your life take on new dimensions, and doors become unlocked.
Listen to Others
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway
When you take the time to listen to people, communication truly starts, for sometimes it is what we do not say that matters, and sometimes all a person needs is to have an ear to hear their words. When you listen, you learn. Learning to objectively listen to people is one of the most important aspects of NLP, because through a person’s body language, chosen words and eye movements you can see and hear much of what is and what isn’t being said. Usually, in the run of a normal conversation, a person gives you everything that you need in order to communicate with them.
One important point in listening and communication however is to never make assumptions. Assumptions or, as we call them in NLP ‘mind reads’, are one of the most dangerous things one can encounter during communication.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
By not assuming that we know a person’s life, intentions or inner thoughts we allow for wholesale communication to occur: this is communication without judgement, without interjection and without miscommunication. It is where we truly listen, asking for verification where it is needed, and listening to what a person is telling you with full interest and rapport.
By doing this we negate self sabotage in communication and allow for true connections to occur. Listening to others is paramount in order to achieve real communication.
Listen to Your Environment
Observing your environment is important, not only for survival, but also for understanding. When I say to listen, what I mean is to use all of your senses with precision.
Instead of moving through the world at a quickened pace, observing only what seems to matter take it all in. Our minds are constantly deleting information from our environment, and until we focus ourselves on observing we miss things everyday.
Have you ever learned a new word, and suddenly you hear the same word everywhere? The world hasn’t suddenly started using the word, your mind has simply stopped deleting it. This phenomenon is called a scotoma, and we all have them. In order to overcome this we must observe our world and apply meaning to as much as possible.
The fact is that the average mind can only focus on 5-9 things at a time, and so it is that it tends to focus on the same 5-9 things constantly in the run of a day. Let’s say you are taking a walk through your neighborhood: Your brain is registering the temperature, the terrain – even if it is familiar, the people that you meet, the weather, and generally itself. This is true, especially if you often take the walk along the same path or streets. You brain might register slightly more, but the average walker only notes minor changes in their environment. Houses – unless they have certain meanings- often are overlooked by the conscious mind becoming merely ‘background’.
By observing the world and listening to it we are able to overcome this generalization of people, places and things.This is where you will begin to find unexpected and surprising things about your environment. When I go for a walk I like to look for ‘one new thing I never noticed before’. Sometimes it’s as simple as a new flower in a flowerbed, or as complicated to the way a house is shingled. Its amazing how often I’ll say to myself ‘I’ve never seen that before’, and then realize that I’ve been looking at numerous examples every single day without realizing it.
What we miss in our world is absolutely incredible, but when we begin to observe it opens its secrets up to us.
Listen to Your Heart
“Let me listen to me and not to them.” – Gertrude Stein
Listening to your heart is as important as listening to others: often times it is your unconscious mind trying to tell you something. It has been called instinct, listening to your gut, and intuition, but the fact is that your mind is constantly making connections in the world without your full knowledge. We all work on a highly unconscious level, and sometimes we let the conscious mind – the one that pays attention to only 5-9 things at a time – take the lead.
Its as though we are listening to the village idiot over the well informed man, and we do it all the time. We let apparent facts and figures get in the way, or we let the savvy salesman talk us into buying something that we didn’t really want. Our guts and hearts said no, but our head said ‘That sounds good though.’
When in doubt, go with your gut. Chances are that your unconscious mind has seen some signal to indicate the direction best suited to you. Listening to your heart can sometimes lead you down a difficult road, and can sometimes lead you in odd directions, but the one place it will never steer you is in the wrong direction.
How many times have you told yourself “I knew I should have listened to my gut?” It is the one regret people have again and again, and its because they haven’t yet learned to follow their own quiet, inner voice that knows what it is doing. Remember, you always have all the resources you need, you must first be willing to spot them and use them though.
All in all by listening to people, your world and yourself, you will find that the world can be your oyster, and that your life can be the pearl that it deserves to be. Don’t you deserve that?