Does the title of this post mean anything to you? Are you talking just to hear yourself or are you using knowledge and wisdom to teach others lessons you have learned? What are their reactions to what you are telling them? Are they showing interest, anger, boredom or amusement to the words flowing so frequently from that hole in your face? I hope if it’s amusement, you are telling a good joke. These are some hard questions to ask one’s self. These are also questions that must be asked and answered if you want to improve who you are as well as what others think of you. What you share using your words can make or break the conversation you are engaging in. These words can and usually will help the other person or persons decide what your credibility is with the subject matter at hand. The person patiently listening to the conversation between the others and not interrupting usually looks like the most intelligent person in the room. Remember the saying, “two ears and one mouth”. In other words, we need to listen twice as much as we talk to ever become a wise person.
I am just now learning to take this advice to heart and the more I do, the more I believe this is truth. I myself, like many others, love to talk and find it difficult to listen to others without putting in my two cents. These are terrible habits and ones that I am working through day by day, hour by hour and minute by minute. I challenge you to take part in this quest with me and see where it might take us together.
Here is a good test that shows how well we are listening. If you are arguing with the people on your television set, you want or need to hear your thoughts and are now missing the rest of the story through your own voice. Ladies, don’t tell me I’m crazy when you are involved in a conversation with the people you are watching like them rich housewives in whatever city they are in this season and Men, you are yelling at the refs during a sporting event all on the big box sitting on a stand in your living room! I am guilty of the second one. Guess what? It’s on television and they can’t hear you through the glass!
Let’s put this on the other person and away from us for a minute. If you are at the movies and someone is always talking during the movie, it’s hard to pay attention isn’t it? How about somebody asking what just happened and by the time you get through explaining what happened, you just missed the next scene and now you too are lost. I think this is why a very smart person invented the pause button for us to use at home but when watching on the big screen at the theater, you’re not able to pause. If you miss something, you either have to pay and watch it again or wait until it comes out on DVD so you can buy it and pause it at home. This of course is a win win for the movie industry but we just spent more than we originally anticipated. Our conversation can and will affect those around you as well as showing what kind of person you are.
It’s easy to see a person’s point of view by reading their thoughts they have written down but to learn someone’s view on things in conversation can and is quite difficult for most. Everyone has their own thoughts and points of view on everything we deal with in our lives day to day. Parents all have their own thoughts on how parenting should be done. Once you have passed your driver’s exam, you will put your own methods into play while driving. These are just two examples of the millions that could be put forth for this discussion. What I’m trying to say is we all have our own unique way of doing things that suits us and makes us comfortable in what we are doing. We also have a hard time understanding how others get by without using these same techniques we have proven to work for us.
Here’s the thing, being comfortable is not always the best way of achieving any task, but getting outside our comfort zone puts us into what we feel may be a danger zone and we show this in our everyday conversations. Someone may bring up a topic of how driving should be done and if they wear a badge, we will listen. Talking with the policeman that has just pulled you over commands a certain amount of attention paid without the argument you would rather use. Start to tell the officer how wrong they are and you will most assuredly end up with a big fat ticket to pay. However, talking about driving with your buddies and everyone in your group is an expert and none of you drive the same way.
Alas, telling another parent what they are doing wrong, may get you a fat lip unless you are a specialist in the field of parenting and the parents have made an appointment to see you in your office. I do believe that specialist in the parenting field should be parents themselves. Becoming a parent is one thing that can’t be taught unless you have been a parent yourself ( I will always stand by this ).
Ask yourself if you are talking just to be part of the conversation or do I have a true insight that I have learned and feel it is important enough to speak up and show my knowledge and wisdom of the subject being discussed. Listening without interrupting is a talent that few of us have accomplished in our lives. I am not part of those special few but I’m working on it. Another part that is hard to learn is dealing with someone whom believes they know everything. (We all know one of these people, heck, you may be one of them ). Even if you are the expert in the subject, sometimes it’s better to be quiet and let the other person ramble on. Dealing with people like these can just turn into a huge argument if you show where they are wrong. ( You can always go home and laugh about what they said later! ) If you happen to be one of those that knows everything about everything just remember this quote; “It is better to be thought of a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt“. These people that you just showed all your knowledge to, are going home for a good laugh if you are full of dung.
So when should we speak up and when should we keep our mouth shut, listen and maybe learn something? This is the quest I have been learning and inviting you to join in. Talking with your friends and just having a good time is great but if you are a baker at trade and know nothing about cars, telling an auto mechanic what to do if the transmission goes out…well, that’s just dumb! Same as the mechanic telling you ( the baker ) how to make a seven layer wedding cake. Where does your expertise lie? All of us have our special talents but none of us know everything! The ones that truly know the most, are those that can listen and not interrupt when spoken to. These special people have a grasp on many talents and not just one or maybe a couple as most of us do.
I am putting all of this in print, not to tell you your business but so maybe I can learn from some of you who have learned about these issues or are like me and are just now trying to learn this wisdom. As you read these words, ask yourself where you stand with this. If you can, help me and others learn the best way to know when to speak up and when to shut up, please share. This maybe a simple task for you but for most of us, it is a great mystery and learning curve that needs to be solved. I am all ears at this time and am really looking forward to your comments and advice. Thank you in advance and as always Remember, we are all in this together.