“The most dangerous person is the one who listens, thinks and observes.”
Bruce Lee. The importance and power of listening is entrenched in every walk of life – as essential for a martial artist as anyone else.
Active listening is a cornerstone for all communication and relationships, whether it is in your personal or work life, so it is worth taking the time to discover what makes a good listener.
- To listen is to learn. Of course communication is a two-way street, but rarely (if ever) are you likely to learn from hearing yourself talk. Instead, it is when you take time to pay attention to others. Just taking the time to hear about someone’s day can often give you valuable snippets of information you might not know you needed.
- What does it mean to be an active listener? As a good rule of thumb, realizing that it’s not all about you is a vital first step. It also helps to be open with both your questions and your body language – showing others that it is their time to talk.
- Listening is important not just as a chance to learn, but to help others feel valued – it is a way of showing that you are genuinely interested. Giving people time to answer without interrupting or slam-dunking their views will show that you trust and respect their opinions.
If you feel tension or disharmony in your relationships at home or work, centring yourself and taking time to listen is a vital first step you can take to get things back on track. Listening is a skill just like any other, so we shouldn’t expect to be born as great listeners.