We never outgrow the need to have our feelings known and much of the conflict in our lives can be explained by one simple fact: people don’t really listen to each other. In a more and more hyper-paced world we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that we can do more than one thing at a time. The truth is that we just end up doing one thing poorly after another. We’ve gained unparalleled access to information and lost something very important. We’ve lost the habit of concentrating our attention.
The simple art of listening isn’t so simple. Take the time to focus and listen to people. Regardless of how much we take it for granted, the importance of listening cannot be overestimated. The gift of our attention and understanding makes other people feel validated and valued. Our ability to listen, and listen well, creates goodwill that comes back to us. But effective listening is also the best way to enjoy others, to learn from them, and to make them interesting to be with.