I remember before I learned how to drive,
the standard for crossing the street: STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. These three words resonated with me much like the words “I Love You.” That warning instilled in me a sense of action that said I needed to ensure my safety because my best interest was at heart. It was especially vital to adhere to the Listen part because the future of my life depended on it. I for sure didn’t want to be the chicken that didn’t make it to the other side.
The evolution of technology has made this process less manual and more automatic. It’s evolved so much that the way we listen to each other when communicating, has caused a lot of us to stay on opposite sides of the sidewalk. We express thousands of words through pictures, texts, and emails with the mere press of a button. Every day the “expressive express” gets faster, and some of us even rely on the press to validate the means of “communication transportation.”
In our travels from one communication channel to another, how many of us take the time to actively listen? I mean real active listening. The kind that results in a response based on full comprehension rather than biased opinion. By definition active listening is a communication technique used in counseling, training, and conflict resolution. It requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond, and remember what is being said.
The principle of active listening also applies especially when we listen to music. Headphones and quality speakers are what make music comprehensive and enjoyable. There’s a certain filter applied enabling the listener to hear exactly what the artist intended. There’s no input noise; just the sound of the music, clean and pure.
I can’t blame technological advances for humanity’s lack of communication. Yes the keyboard has influenced how we speak to each other, but it’s our words that hold the true power. Next time you engage in a conversation I hope you’ll be motivated to participate in active listening. We live in a pivotal time where the ability to hear clarity can’t be taken for granted. The future of our world depends on it.