I wished I had listened more.
To now estranged friends, to relatives who passed away years ago, to teachers who cared about me without me realizing.
I like to talk. I like to share my enthusiasm about topics that get me excited.
I talk too much, and I know it. I don't listen as much as I should. Listening is hard.
This post concludes my 2021's top 10 books series, and I thought today's book best synthesizes what I want to change about myself. I want to become a better listener.
Thank you for having followed me on this short series.
I hope I managed to pique your interest and maybe add a couple of books to your reading list.
If I did, please drop me a line here and tell me which book and why.
Alright, without further due (see? I talk too much!)
You're Not Listening, Kate Murphy
Most mistakes in human history are arguably the result of not listening. When asked what they regret the most, many elders reply "not having listened enough" alongside "and having said too much."
We are very lousy listeners. Let's be honest, we're not really listening; we are waiting for the right timing to say something. We're more interested in showing off our knowledge than learning something new. I know I am.
We assume we understand how people think, especially when close to us. But that is an illusion. We are projecting our own logic and mindset onto what they say. Miles Davis famously said: "If you understood everything I said, you'd be me."
When was the last time you really listened to a close relative and felt complete openness on their part? Have you ever found it easier to open to a stranger? When was the last time YOU felt listened to?
Listening is an active skill that requires practice. It is about curiosity and asking the right questions. It is about "paying" attention, and yes, it is a cost.
Resisting the urge to jump in is the hardest part for me. But I need to accept that talking about myself doesn't make me smarter. I already know what I know.
We fear judgment and feel the urge to have the last word. Silence makes us uncomfortable. To be a good listener requires self-confidence and knowing our vulnerabilities.
There is nothing groundbreaking in You're Not Listening, but many things I needed to hear. Reading it opened my eyes, or should I say, ears.
We have so much to learn from others by just listening. I want to know more about people around me, and more importantly, I want them to feel that they are listened to.