THE ART OF LISTENING
We live in such a fast-paced world where it feels that everything is moving at breakneck speed.
I believe the dependence on technology in our daily lives has created more distractions and affected our ability to focus.
With that, I’m finding that in today’s hectic, technology driven world listening may have become a lost art. Listening to others and even to ourselves can be very challenging.
I’m often amazed when I witness people in social situations spending time on their phones instead of being engaged in conversation.
Is the ability to spend quality time with each other a thing of the past?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
I find people fascinating.
I so enjoy learning about people and what makes them tick. For me, that comes through spending time with another person talking and listening.
Yet, it seems that more and more of our conversations are done via text messaging.
I’m getting more technology savvy; but receiving texts with cryptic techno abbreviations that I have to take time to figure out doesn’t float my boat (FMB).
I once had a friend who would only text. I became so frustrated I texted back that I want to have a real conversation – face to face or on the phone. I called. I was sent straight to voicemail.
I believe relationships require dialogue. That’s dialogue with a UE meaning conversation, not that little dialog box that pops up uninvited.
Don’t get me wrong. Technology is a good thing. We’ve made tremendous strides on so many levels; but I feel that the human connection has suffered. Did Einstein get it right?
What could possibly be so interesting on our phones that we completely ignore the people we are with and miss out on the opportunities to engage, learn, respond, think and enjoy?
Barring long distance relationships, I believe the only way to really get to know someone is to be face-to-face.
I find that magical things happen when I can focus on the other person, listen to the richness of what they are saying, not only with words, but with their eyes and body language.
HEARING VS. LISTENING
Hearing is the ability to perceive sounds.
Listening is making a conscious effort to hear.
I believe we need to make that conscious effort to really listen to each other.
I recently saw the film, Radio Player One.
I didn’t know what to expect with this movie; but it’s Stephen Spielberg, so why not.
In full disclosure, I don’t play video games. I feel they’re too violent. Yet, I was intrigued by the concept behind this film.
It’s all about living in and becoming part of this alternate reality. It’s about becoming someone else and living circumstances out as that character.
Only, there’s a major problem. The gamers are so consumed by the game; they lose sight of interacting with other people in the real world. There’s no sense of how to relate on a personal level.
I wasn’t sure where story was heading; but, I feel there is a powerful message in this film about the importance of relationships and making a concerted effort to develop relationships in the real world.
LISTENING TAKES MORE THAN SKILL
I’ve always considered myself a good listener; but as an actress, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of listening with the intent of truly hearing what is being said.
As I’ve continued to work on my craft as an actress, I have been privileged to study with Philip Charles MacKenzie with The Art of Acting Studio in Los Angeles.
He continually stresses that listening is the key component of being an actor. It’s important to stop thinking about your next line. That takes you out of the scene. Take in the other actor. Focus on what they’re saying and let it sink in before reacting. This allows an actor to live in the moment.
Many times, I have seen Philip put his hands on his gut and then open and close his hands. He says, “It’s all about being connected. Get out of your head. Open the door in your gut.”
I believe this is a life lesson. Get connected. Take the time to take in another person or situation before replying.
LISTENING TO OURSELVES
In today’s world, we have access to so many self-help tools with the ability to try and find answers to our questions and needs.
We can search the internet. We can seek out opinions from others who may know better.
We can drive ourselves to distraction searching and searching for answers.
I personally have found this to be exhausting resulting in limited success. I spent my life listening to what others thought best for me. Yet, deep inside, I knew something was wrong.
For many years, I didn’t listen to my inner voice, my gut.
It’s taken years; but I’ve learned to listen and follow the still small voice within me.
Even though I’m living in a world that is moving so quickly, I’ve come to the place where I can listen on many levels with intent.
This life lesson has enabled me to do what’s right for me and follow my dreams.
Listen with intent…and remember, it’s never too late to go after your dreams.