Listening: The Often Unused Potential

As I sit back and think to rethink about all those years that have gone by, I suddenly come to realize that listening has slowly and steadily become a dying art. And when I use the term ‘dying art’ I mean we humans have forgotten the fact why we have been given two ears and only one mouth. More often than not, we pretend as if we are listening but in reality we are not mentally present in the conversation with the other person. This further leads me to the realization that many of the troubles that I face in my day to day life is a direct consequence of not hearing something or someone else not listening to me.

Strange though it may sound, but now that I am consciously aware of the relevance of listening, I think that perhaps a major proportion of my routine work depends on my listening to someone or someone else listening to me. Having said this, I can very rightly state that with my little knowledge and experience, people in general do not know how to listen for they have ears that hear very well, but seldom have they acquired the necessary aural skills which would allow those ears to be used effectively for what is called listening. Having sat through all those mandatory sessions which formed an integral part of my academic curriculum which introduced me to the various facets of listening yet when it came to putting the same into practice, I failed miserably as because I was hearing, but not listening.

Well my behavior of inadvertently overlooking listening, can be attributed to my mind being preoccupied with my own thoughts and ideas which allowed little space and acceptance for something new and afresh. Since listening is a thinking function, contrary to what it is for hearing,  the former requires patience and analytical skills and in most cases it is seen that verbal conversations fail to reach a meaningful conclusion, due to lack of focus, attention and disinterest in some cases.

And the situation further worsens when people intentionally fail to listen. This not just shows disrespect towards the speaker or the one who is actively involved in the same but over a period of time will create a ceiling between the speaker and the listener both. Just like time and effort can never be managed in isolation similarly hearing and not listening can prove disastrous results in the long run be it in a family, among friends or even in businesses.


As we voyage through our day to day life’s journey, we must not ignore the significance of listening, because the real discovery lies not in the finding of greener pastures, but in customising oneself to rediscover the older ones which have either been lost through the foggy ruins of time as a lack of being heard. Instead of expecting people to listen to us every time, we should create opportunities through which we can lend our ears to a more meaningful conversation.


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