listening to being listened to

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Being listened to, has amazing properties.

When we need to be heard, and someone makes time, it feels like a gift. The gift of attention. It makes us feel special. Helps us make sense of our own thinking. Connects us to our own feelings. It’s cathartic. Warming. Connecting. It sets us on an even keel again. Able to move forward once more.

Being listened to, however, requires a listener.

Often a good one. One who listens. One who hears. Little, if any, interruption.

All too often though as the potential listener, we don’t pay attention to this gift giving capability. We are too busy. In our own world. We move on, neglecting. Not because we don’t care, but often because we just don’t value sufficiently the benefit of listening to another person. We are captured by our own selfish need. Our priorities. Our world, in that moment, is worth more than the world of the listened to. So we interject, we opinion give, or we don’t even see that the listened to seeks to be listened to.

We should stand regularly in the listened to space and remember its gifts.

From there, step across. Stand more frequently in the listener space. Give gifts back. Gifts to others. To those who need to be listened to.

 

work or play?

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I must finish my work before I can play

or

I can play anytime I like

Which of these is more you?

Often when I ask a room of people to make their choice, the room divides.

Those choosing the former, talk of not being able to enjoy their relaxation or play until the work is done. The list of jobs needs to be ticked off. Completing the work is in itself enjoyable. The play is a reward for completing the work. They sometimes mention responsibility or duty.

Those choosing the latter, talk of performing better when they have had down time, play or relaxation. They speak of choice. They describe making work into play, to increase their enjoyment.

Occasionally someone stands between the two, recognising a different stance in different circumstances, such as work or home.

I’ve never experienced someone not knowing.

I don’t recall the lesson in school where we learned this? I don’t recall the conversation with mum or dad, where they explained the pros and cons or the virtues of each approach?

It seems we just know. Somehow in life, we have learned through experience. That learning is often so well ingrained we don’t even see a possible alternative. It just is.

There are many opposites like this, not just work and play, where we have a position, a life stance. Many, I suspect, we have never been consciously taught which is best, we have just absorbed this into our existence, our way of being.

Weird eh? Enabling sometimes, disabling at other times. Strange that such life impacting choices seem invisible, out of conscious awareness. They just are.

learning blind

mylearningplan

What could you never learn?

Make a list.

It’s easy to begin with skills and knowledge – we often equate learning to what we know and what we can do. I for instance would find it hard to ski jump.  I don’t like heights, feeling out of control or physically hurting myself, which all seem to me possibilities with ski jumping.

But explore further. Maybe you could never learn to behave a certain way, or to feel certain things?  Maybe you could never learn to be calm? Or to physically strike someone for example?

Maybe you could never learn to believe something or to value something – maybe you could never learn to be envious of material wealth for example? Maybe you could never learn to love red meat?

Maybe you could never learn to be a different person in some way? Maybe being a racist is beyond your learning capability? Or to take a life?

What we are blind to learning tells us a lot.

Be curious.  What does it say about you?

unconsciously patterned

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How often do you change what you do?

I don’t mean change job or your career.  I mean change behaviour.

How much of your daily, weekly, monthly routine is just that, routine?

Do you get up at the same time? Wash, dress and eat in the same order? Do you always have a cup of tea? Eat the same things, drink the same juice? Do you go to work the same way, leave at the same time, make the same checks before leaving?  Do you have the same routines on arrival at work? Get a coffee, hang up your coat, switch on your computer, go to your locker…? Do you have lunch at the same time, eat the same choices, go with the same people? Do you leave at the same time, get the same bus or train, have the same routine when you walk through the door at home?

Do you shop the same day of the week? Wash the car or cut the grass Saturday or Sunday? Do you do the washing or ironing on a set day? Do the kids have after school club every Tuesday? Do you go skiing every year, or have a week in the sun?

How often do you deliberately change things?
Do you change more than you don’t?
Do you maintain more than you alter?
What might happen if you changed more?

It’s not that change is intrinsically good or bad, it’s simply that so much of what we do becomes an unconscious pattern, a sloppy given, an unthinking routine. It’s a missed opportunity to experiment, to learn, to improve.

 

looking back

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If you were to replay your last 24 hours in reverse, what might you change?

Would you add something in? Something you meant to do, or with the benefit of the ‘end of day’ hindsight, something you would have slotted in?

Would you take something out? Something that didn’t add value or which, with the benefit of knowing the whole, the end point, you might just simply not do?

Would you change the sequence? Swap two pieces around?

Would you start something earlier or later? Or maybe finish something sooner?

Would you change durations? Do more of something or less of something?

Do you have any regrets?

If we start from the end of our day, looking back, how might our choices be different? Tomorrow, imagine you are starting at the end. What choices might you make, before you begin?

Then, at the end of tomorrow, review your day. Anything different?

Sketch by: Joe Nammour