More on listening
by Adam Zack — July 19, 2023
I’m never going to stop writing about listening. It’s not because I’m enamored with it, but because it’s consistently the most challenging skill that I am trying to master. Both listening to others and listening to myself. Here’s a bonehead example of “If I listened to myself, I would have apologized.” I’m currently in a cast on my left arm with my thumb completely immobilized. It makes cutting food and tying shoes impossible. So Sunday morning, my daughter was kind enough to make a breakfast of toast, bacon, tomatoes and an egg on top. It looked and smelled delicious. Since I could not cut it, I asked my wife to please cut it for me. It proved very difficult to cut and keep it all together, and the result was cut pieces all over the plate. Instead of simply saying “Thank you for doing your best”, I said “I might as well have put it in a blender.” Stupid AND ungrateful. If I’d have listened to myself, I would have apologized on the spot.
I’m reading the book “Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator” by Gary Noesner. His work negotiating peaceful surrenders is fascinating. If the FBI bosses had listened to him at Waco, the ending most likely would have been very different and subsequently the Oklahoma City bombing prevented. He stated one thing that really stuck out to me: “Before we can influence others, we must first listen and understand. Listening is the cheapest concession we can ever make.” It’s extremely impactful, especially when you think that people’s lives are actually at stake and not having the skill to listen could result in the loss of those lives. Heavy stuff.
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