today it hit me. It hit me why we have two ears and only one mouth. It hit me to realize that we are meant to listen twice as much than we are meant to speak.
I’ve had a little introspection lately and realized, I talk too much. Though compared to others I’m not much of a talker and am rather introvert, still I think I talk too much. A couple of days ago, my husband and I went for lunch, to get a slice of pizza for him and I had leftovers from the day before. As we came to that food place we both like and they like us back, I realized how bossy I am. While observing which sort of pizza we should get, I made suggestions about the newly baked ones, the vegetable ones and got all smart about which ones to choose. Then I realized it is not up to me to decide, it will be his lunch, not mine. So I tried to back up shush. And then the lady serving us asked how we would like our pizzas to be packed as we said we’d like them to take-away. Again, I couldn’t resist and I said to pack them together, but she and my husband both agreed to have them separately. I had to bite my tongue again. I failed twice in five minutes by trying to control the situation that was out of my control domain. Neither was I invited – I took the position and ascribed it to me without previous consent.
Non of them remembers this situation however and they tolerated my behaviour completely. But it was a huge lesson for me. I wondered how many times I react this way and what would happen if I try something different.
As I grow my body of knowledge, I could probably explain or have something to say to most occuring phenomena. I realized how many times I went “all smart” and wouldn’t even listen what others have to say, because I was confident “I know better”, due to keeping up with recent research about this or because it’s a topic about my expertise. Too bad and such a shame for me, because you can only learn something new when you listen. By talking, you only repeat what you already know. And furthermore, that’s not what people really want from me.
So I try not to talk as much.
Right now, my team is in the middle of application for some funding. I try to experiment with this new skill in our team. Unless I have something really vital and important to say and it has meaningful impact on our work, I try to be quitet or instead of making a statement, I ask a question. It is great – I learn so much and I think they appreciate the space as well. Everytime I find myself tempted to explain something, I try to stop and question whether the person standing next to me is really looking for my input. In most cases they are not. And they really appreciate my silence. It’s like this proverb that when you talk to yourself, you have both – a great counterpart as well as a good listener. Joke aside.
Think I learned that in my professional training. Active constructive listening is a skill that has to be learned and practiced. It’s much much more complex than talking. Just thought I wanted to share this piece of little wisdom with you. Anyhow, writing is not the same as talking, right?