Today’s political climate is…volatile (to put it nicely). It seems to me that everyone is yelling at the top of their lungs to be heard, but no one is listening.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good debate and thoughtful discussion. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of discussion taking place. I respect everyone’s right to have an opinion, and to share that opinion. But there is no hope of an actual discussion or change taking place if everyone is talking and no one is listening.
So, to resurrect something I used to do here often, a little Miss Communication advice – LISTEN.
Be quiet and listen. Listen to the birds singing, the wind blowing, the kid
s laughing, and to the thoughts of those whose opinions are geometrically opposed to yours. Don’t just hear the words they’re saying so you can tell them why they’re wrong. Listen to what they’re saying, think about it. Chances are you’re still going to hate every word, but you have no hope of changing someone else’s mind if you can’t counter their argument and formulate one of your own that they might listen to.
Communication is as much about what you want people to hear as it is what you have to say. Listen to what people are saying, then you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you really need to say.
How often have you taken a position on a topic, clearly communicate your opinion, and never seem to reach an agreement? It happens all the time. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you communicate an idea or opinion. Sometimes the message just can’t get through because the person your communicating with are so focused on their opinion that they can’t truly hear what you’re trying to say.
We’ve all dealt with people whose mind was made up. If you’re honest with yourself I bet you’d say that, on rare occasion, you’ve been that person. I know I have. The problem is when you’re so focused on being right, and convincing someone else that you’re right, you can’t communicate.
You can talk. You can receive the messages that are sent to you, but you can’t understand them and process them without an open mind. If both people aren’t approaching the subject with a willingness to accept and consider the other person’s opinion the messages will always miss the mark. It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing – it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Doe he look like he wants to sing?
Not being open-minded and being unwilling to even hear the other person’s opinion is a huge pet peeve for me. I admit that there are people I avoid discussing certain topics with because there is no discussion. It turns into a one-sided explanation why the person is right and nothing I say or do will ever be considered. It’s not really a discussion if both sides aren’t free to support their side of the argument. I could have scientific proof, sworn testimony and expert opinion, but the other person will not accept any of it because they aren’t being open-minded.
I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes the best thing to do is walk away or try again later. I’m all for teaching the arts, but if that pig isn’t ready to sing there is no way I can teach it anything.
The next time you’re in a situation where you’re communicating and getting nowhere, ask yourself if you’re being open-minded. Are you willing and able to receive the messages you are being sent? Keep an open mind and really listen to what people are telling you. If not, you might be the one wasting someone’s time and getting annoyed.