Listening is the Willingness to Change

Listening is one of the most powerful things we can do.  It is also very challenging.  It seems strange that it is difficult. But it is… because it demands us to be both self-aware and willing to be compassionate.

Active listening is all bright-eyed, big smile and nodding approval kind of a listening. Deeper listening is reading between the lines and “feeling” things rather than just hearing the words. Compassionate listening is, really, getting ready to say “Oh dear, I know exactly what you are going through…”

“Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you.”
― Alan Alda, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned

Say it to yourself a few times. Let it sink in.

You need to be ready to surrender all beliefs that you hold dear. You need to forego everything else that you have been planning to bring to the table.

If we are only interacting to have it our way or to keep things the same, then we are either on offense or defense.  We are defending or attacking a position.  We are only trying to forward our position.  We are not listening.

Listening takes softness, openness, a willingness to be moved or changed by the other person.  Active listening wants to know more, be more changed, be more inspired. Here are few tips to be a better listener:

  • Surrender your position of leader and be a follower.
  • Give up the idea of wanting to offer wisdom or create value.
  • You need to accept, respectfully, the thought that what is presented may be better and productive then your ideas.
  • You need to ready to let go of your attachment to your ideas
  • You need to be listening with a willingness to change your perspective.

It doesn’t mean that you do change… Remain objective and focused on the best outcome given all the factors to consider. But a willingness to change will open YOU up to new perspectives that may lead you to the best solution that you are looking for.

Mercer, Kyle. Listening Is The Willingness to Change. Inquiry Method. May 10, 2012.

Mandhyan, Raju. Listening with a Willingness to Change. Authentic Influence. March 29, 2017.