By Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance
One of our biggest failings as individuals in a society is we refuse to listen. We often use the time when someone else is talking to formulate what we want to say, instead of listening to what people are telling us. We also refuse to listen to the words that people are saying because we are listening through our own filter, which causes us to twist and contort what people are saying to align with how we’re thinking or what we want to hear.
When we listen to what people say, we are able to ascertain so much about them and it also allows us to respond based off of what we’re being told, not how we think and feel. Truly listening to someone makes our job so much easier because we don’t have to use our time formulating what we want to say. We’re able to just organically reply to what’s being said to us. It also allows us to grow as an individual because we can understand something about the person who is talking to us. It allows us to change our perspective if we truly listen and agree with what someone is telling us.
To become open minded, you have to develop the art of listening. The reason we’re so closed minded and entrenched in our opinions is because we refuse to hear the opinions of others. Instead of concerning ourselves with what we want to say, we should first be open to what someone else has to say. It provides us the opportunity to learn, grow, take in different opinions and different perspectives, and step away from our own thoughts and opinions.
There’s a saying that “you catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.” Listening is the equivalent of honey, and we have a much greater chance of getting what we want because we’re listening to what others want. This is being logical and smart enough to take interest in the other person to maximize benefit for yourself.
A proper listening mindset is looking at things the way the person you’re communicating with sees it. You need to factor in the other person. Everyone's thoughts are relevant, but our thoughts aren’t what causes people to gravitate to us, it’s conveying things in a way that they can receive them.
In order to communicate effectively, you need to learn how to navigate through the minefield of insecurities and deceit. Many times people ask us something and appear to be interested in what we have to say, when in reality they’re just pretending to listen so they can switch the conversation to talk about what’s important to them. When people ask for advice, it’s the last thing they want to get. What they’re asking is for us to confirm what they’re going to do anyway. You can’t have direct thoughts, but indirect language, because it doesn’t portray the proper thought. People believe your words. When you speak indirectly, it creates confusion.
People have an opinion on everything, when the reality is they know so little about anything. It’s masked as ego. Few things in life are absolute, but one thing that is absolute is there isn’t one person who has knowledge about all the things they’re pretending to have knowledge about.
When you are logical, you are able to take interest in another person to maximize benefit for yourself and for them. Everything in life is self serving. It’s part of human nature. We prioritize ourselves first, but give the appearance we are prioritizing others. We have been conditioned to believe that If we’re direct and honest with someone when explaining what we want from them, they aren’t going to give it to us. If we were selfish in a smart way, we would listen to others, so they would then listen to us.
People are uncomfortable with being direct, so they communicate in an indirect way. It’s a conundrum because when we are direct, we’re punished because we don’t align with what others want from us. In most cases in life, you’re either the hammer or the nail. You’re either the one in control, or you’re the one getting pounded into submission. There’s no point in explaining yourself to someone, even if it’s accurate or correct, because if it doesn’t match what they want, they don’t care.
We often use more words when we talk to someone because we believe the more we say, the more we can convince them, which will allow us to get what we want from people. People typically don’t listen past the seventh word. People should use less words instead of more if they want to be understood because the more we say, the more we distance ourselves from getting what we want from them. Think about what you really want from the person before you speak, and then find the exact words that will relay your message to them.
About the Authors
Harry Petsanis is a philosopher of human nature, mindset consultant, and lifelong fitness and wellness specialist. He is a writer and author, with three published books: “The Truth is A Lie,” “The Logical Path To Life,” and "Knowing Me from A to Z, A Child's Mindset," which he co-authored with Donna McCance, M.Ed.. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He has an intense passion for psychology and the human condition.
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Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, writer, author, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and Associates in Business Administration.