It might sound really simple and obvious, and might result in a collective "duh!," but I have recently found myself realizing that things that truly matter to me require not just hearing, but also some actual listening. To me, listening means to digest what you hear. To let it soak in. To not only hear the words, but also the way the words are presented. To recognize that there are feelings behind the words.
It feels like this is the building block of so many things that I want in my journey. An unbreakable connection with my kids. A healthy marriage with strong communication. Relationships that are long-lasting and can be picked right back up after weeks or months (years?) of quiet. Meaningful and successful conversations at work and out in the world. Learning and absorbing what is heard, read, or seen. Listening feels like a major factor in all of these.
This does not come easy to me. As a numbers and sports guy, it's all about the data. Stats. Facts. Cut and dried. Things are or they aren't. That mentality kind of takes the meaning and the feeling out of it. "Yeah, I heard that. Now off to the next point." When I actually stop and listen, and listen to the feelings behind the words, there is a whole new appreciation for what is being said and who is saying it.
I have had the pleasure of being exposed to Celeste Headlee's TED talk titled "10 ways to have a better conversation." So much of this resonates with me, and I realize how so much of it I could use some focusing on. And how so much of it comes back to listening. So, that is where I am attempting to head and, come to think of it, should have been headed long ago.