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No matter how hard we want to change something, if we dont take the firm decision to listen, it is almost impossible to know where to start.
First, the audio pollution our modern world produces continuously. If there is no cacophony around us, we might even think that something strange is about to happen.
Secondly the different stimulus we have allowed to penetrate all our activities, starting with the word “mobile.” People don’t even go to the toilet alone anymore. We are afraid of losing something.
When we mix noise with distraction, it becomes challenging to hear our thoughts. If we don’t practice listening skills, we might even don’t be aware that we are alive.
I challenge you to slow down and read with your full attention to the following words.
In the early days of the Walking Mentorship, I paid particular attention to the tiny moments before an exercise or dynamic I was trying to implement. What I learned was simple but beautiful.
1) The metaphor of walking is very much related to the act of listening. If you don’t walk you don’t move forward. If you don’t listen you also don’t move forward with your thoughts and ideas. When other people talk, try to be there completely. Most people never tune in on others.
Try this – Next talk, try to listen and don’t do anything else at the same time. Enjoy the intent to understand and not the intention to reply.
2) Quite often, people tell me they learn tremendously with the stories from others. If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.
Try this – Create the habit of journaling at the end of the day/week. Capture what you have learned from listening to others, even if you don’t necessarily agree with their point of view.
3) The act of listening also has an external impact. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and allow us to expand. Having someone genuinely present and listening to our story, it is probably the most powerful route for redemption.
Try this – Replace a challenging talk indoors by a walk near nature or a park. We often walk in pairs during the Walking Mentorship programs because by listening the other person can change you. And sometimes, completely.
At times listening is like a gentle candle that leads the way on a dark night, occasionally is like a machete on dense forest.
Very often, you need both, the candle and the machete. These tools are the reason why, listening is always the first step in the Survival Kit*.
Finally, I leave you with a pearl of ancient wisdom, I believe from Diogenes. “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”
In the meantime, keep walking with me.
João Perre Viana
Founder of Walking Mentorship
* Survival Kit – It is the name given to the Walking Mentorship methodology.