Saturday, November 30, 2013

Listening is a virtue many has forgotten

I have been neglecting my blog for more than a month. A thousand apologies to my readers. I returned from a company trip to Japan a month ago. Before that, I was busy trying to pick up Japanese. I was only given 3 months to learn the language. And it was not that fruitful anyway because I do not have a native speaker to practice with.

I still have lots of videos from the August Trip to edit. Trying to edit those videos on a two year old MacBook is really a test of patience because it is slow. There are many things that I want to write that I wish that there is a USB port to my brain that can transfer the data to my laptop.

Ok, anyway, there is something that I would like to vomit out -  It is about the virtue of listening. I am beginning to realise that many are losing that ability to listen.



Whether its is out of good will or our need to flaunt our knowledge to prove our worth, we like to share what we know to others. In our zeal to share, sometimes we forget to listen to what the other party wants to know.

A lot of times I do not know about something and I asked. Before I can even finish my question or sentence, I get interrupted and was told about something else. In the end, I ended up being confused with irrelevant info.

Example, buying a motorcycle:

Noobie:  What do you think of Bike Banana? I am thinking of buying Bike Banana because it has features B, C, D and.... (Interrupted before finishing sentence.)
Know-it-all: Bike Durian also have (feature B and C) and it is cheaper. Buy Bike Durian la.

Actually Bike Durian does not have feature D.

Or opinion about place in Italy:

Me: I am going to Barile to....

Friend-who-has-never-been-to-Barile: Oh Bari? What for? That place is very dangerous.

I was trying to tell you what I want to do there before you cut my sentence. The friend failed to realise that Barile and Bari are two different cities in Italy. That friend probably have very bad perception of Bari but that does not mean all cities that sounded like Bari is bad.

Know-It-All, sometimes jab in information that are irrelevant and misleading just because they fail to listen. One can claim to be very knowledgable but do not possess the virtue of listening, that also make his knowledge questionable.

It seems that the people around me, as they move up the educational or social ladder, they seem to have lost the ability to listen or the humility to admit that they do not know. You can have vast amount of knowledge, but your lack of knowledge grows more vast each day because there are new discoveries every single day. And if you do not know, just say "I don't know." There is no shame in saying, "I don't know." Even when my students ask me difficult question, I honestly tell them, I do not know but I will check and get back to them or let's do a little experiment to find out.

Aside from listening to others queries, listening is beyond just opening one's ears to receive the information heard but also to process the information in depth. One of my first few post was on the Notion of Education and why I think conflicts arise.

"Empathy, compassion, tolerance and understanding are a few of these traits. These traits can only be fostered if we break out of our comfort zone and long-held beliefs, keeping an open-mind and learning about others. Be it conflicts on the global scale, national scale, family scale, office scale, how often were conflicts initiated due to lack of understanding and tolerance? It doesn't help that human have the inclination to see differences rather than similarities."

I came across this article which listed down the virtues of those who listen. We are all brought up with different values and thinking. The lack of understanding and tolerance could very well stem from the lack of listening. To cultivate that, it is imperative to first listen without prejudices and opinions we hold. We do not have two ears and one big brain for no good reason.

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