by Adam Zack — February 5, 2020
PONDER: to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply
I’m thinking about how hard it is to be a good listener. I can kind of relate it to the person who wants to eat healthier. You do it for a while, focus and start to see results. Conversations are clearer and more meaningful. Interaction is mutually satisfying. The weight of having to speak and anticipate what your answer should be starts to drop off. You’re feeling good about yourself and those you interact with daily. You’re getting to be a good listener. That’s not so hard, right? Then when you’re getting comfortable, the unexpected double cheeseburger is before you. Just one, right? You listen to the guy explain what’s in the smoothie for breakfast, then you add ice cream (because it’s so delicious). A bag of chips here, Fettuccine Alfredo instead of grilled chicken and salad. Two cookies and a Bailey’s instead of no dessert. Your good intentions, initial success and great feelings are back the way they were not long ago. It’s the same with listening. You make that effort, see results, and then gradually (or sometimes suddenly) slip back into old habits. Becoming a Listening reverts to interrupting, finishing sentences and not hearing. It’s all about you. Again. I found myself backsliding to the land of terrible listeners yesterday when DW asked me to ponder something. As he was making his point I sped straight through “ponder” to “this is why I’m right”. In fact, ponder wasn’t even a blip on the radar. I barely heard the word. I sped past the red ponder sign, not even slowing for the wise man entering the crosswalk. After my non-pondered response, he calmly said “The key word here is ponder.” Think about it a minute, or many minutes. We had a good laugh about it and I pondered it all evening. Point made. Listen. It’s not that hard, it just takes commitment.
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