Who is Listening?

Standard

Listening 

“One learns more from listening than speaking. And both the wind and the people who continue to live close to nature still have much to tell us which we cannot hear within university walls.”

Thor Heyerdahl

When I was a teenager, I read the story of the Kon-Tiki expedition at one sitting, finishing in the early hours of the morning.

It has been over 60 years since a remarkable team of 6 explorers, led by the adventure-seeking Thor Heyerdahl set up to prove that is was possible for a primitive raft made from balsa wood and other native materials to safely sail the Pacific.  Inspired by the legends and Inca raft drawings from the days of the Conquistadors, they set sail for 101 day covering, 4300 nautical mile (4,948 miles/7,964 kilometers). They successfully crossed the Pacific Ocean to the Tuamotu Islands.

Thor Heyerdahl listened to the accounts of history, the crafts-people who knew how to build rafts, his fellow adventurers and to the sounds of nature.  Listening gave him another narrative to tell the world. And the world listened. The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Sea has been translated in 67 languages.

This week, the focus will be listening.  Most agree that it is a skill that takes practice and patience.  Most agree that there are rewards for nurturing the talent.  Yet, it seems that we prefer to talk. There are more courses on developing speaking skills than there are on strengthening listening capacity.  Bryant H McGill, editor of the world-renown McGill Reference Series, once said, “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Respect is the basis for dialogue, conversations, and debates.  There are many voices in this world that need to be heard.  Who is listening?

34 thoughts on “Who is Listening?

  1. A long time ago, my martial arts instructor stopped me mid-word and said, you need to listen more. The best advice I ever received.

    Like

    • “Silence is a source of great strength.”
      — Lao Tzu

      I like your instructor!!! I look forward to your visits…:)

      Like

    • I am absolutely delighted that you are!!! A kindred spirit…thank you so much for joining the dialogue.

      Like

  2. I was once told by a psychic – “God help you, you hear everything.” I agree that listening is a rare skill. Those who are good listeners sometimes end up absorbing too much. It’s important to find a balance.

    Like

    • I agree – there is a lot of noise. And the voices are becoming more strident and demanding simply because the stakes are very high. That is why I want to explore this topic in more depth and “listen” to the comments. I believe that discussion and debate are essential for moving forward, yet we seem to become mired in the process because it becomes either personal or too overwhelming. Talking, in many respects, is easier. I always look forward to your thoughts….

      Like

      • Yes, there’s a lot of chatter. I also think that certain people become magnets for those who need an audience. I had to learn how to “stay off the radar” of those kind of parasites. I know that sounds harsh, but I was absolutely exhausted all the time. Looking forward to your posts, as always. 🙂

        Like

  3. In one of your earlier posts I was fascinated to learn that you used audio books to improve your listening skills. In the days when radio was at its peak, I am sure I had better listening skills. I also had younger ears 🙂 By the way, this may enthrall you as much as the Kon-Tiki expedition http://pacificvoyagers.org/our-blue-canoe I can’t wait to see the film about the voyage. The trailer gives me goosebumps.

    Like

    • Oh, I can hardly wait!!! I didn’t know this was coming out this year!!. By the way, when I first started to listen to audio-books, that is when I realized that my listening skills were less than stellar. My mind would wander and then I would need to go back to re-listen. I am making progress…

      Like

  4. I am listening too! We are all born with a certain dominant type of perception-visual, kynesthetic or audio, so we tend to perceive information in the way that is the ‘most natural’ for us. During my school years learning was always easier by listening lessons, other people talking, learning languages etc… I think today we all are bombed by visual-tv,internet, media..and this could be one reason why our collective listening skills are decreasing. I agree, it is all in the balance.

    Like

    • Ah – you are one of those remarkable people who learn via audio! I am a visual learner who would always be amazed by those who were able to absorb an entire lecture without forgetting anything. I would be the one taking copious amounts of notes to look at later. I have learned to listen by reading audio-books and becoming present in the moment. I agree – there is balance. I think back to the opening lines of the Desiderata from my earlier life…

      “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”

      Like

  5. Listening to (and learning to trim) the chatter in my own head helps in hearing what is being spoken on the outside.

    Like

    • Well said – “trimming the chatter in my own head.” I have actually caught myself answering the sentence for someone else when I thought the conversation should move along more quickly. How much I missed….

      Like

  6. Listening is indeed a lost art. But listening to the words someone says is such a small piece of the whole message. All of the body language and look in the eye can say so much more than what words are coming out of their mouths. Look forward to this week Rebecca.

    Like

    • And I look forward to your comments and ideas. Body language can be up to 70% of the message, according to some experts. Blogging and sharing within a social media structure has made me curious if body language is still a factor. What I have noticed is that photography, music and links within a post or message seem to have the power of body language. We don’t see a person, but we see what this person is like by what she or he offers in terms of subject matter and nuances such as angle and lighting. I am certain that there are studies being conducted at this very moment on this question.

      Like

  7. I too read the Kon-Tiki expedition, though not in one sitting (gosh are you a speed readers?). Still looking at photos of both voyages, and the rafts used, it was incredible they survived.

    And listening, this is a theme close to my heart. It seems one hear without listening and listen without hearing. I fondly look forward to reading your thoughts on this area.

    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

    Like

    • I started early in the morning – couldn’t put the book down until the end. I agree – I have no idea how they managed to survive. I am looking forward to this discussion as well for I believe listening is more than being attentive. I keep on thinking that “active” listening allows for honest, open and cordial debate.

      Like

  8. Beautiful picture ! Beautiful words ! Beautiful blue !

    Like

  9. This subject is so important and the dialogue and comments made are very insightful. One said: something about “staying off the radar”. Very perceptive, there are things we need to close our ears to; such as constant useless chatter, negativity, gossip and the like. But, of course, that is another subject.

    Like

    • Well, it has been said that everyone can make people happy – some by entering a room and some by leaving a room.

      Like

Comments are closed.