• willadubois

Listening (in Quarantine) is Difficult

Over the past several days, call participants have been talking about what it's like to communicate in quarantine. How to find the right rhythm in a Zoom call? How often - and how - to stay in contact if you live alone? How to interact - and not - with your now very, very nearest and dearest? Below are observations on listening from Shane Parrish, former cybersecurity expert at Canada's equivalent of the FBI, that may help.


Listening is difficult because it involves suppressing your ego long enough to consider what is being said before you respond. In a world where few people listen, good listeners stand out. So why is it so hard? When someone starts talking, our minds listen to: 1. Make a reasonable guess about where they are going. (e.g.,“I know what you are going to say.”) 2. Identify a pattern. (e.g., “I know where you are going with this.”) 3. Detect something we disagree with. (E.g., “That's wrong.”) When one of those things happens, we stop listening and our mind starts preparing our response. At that moment, the conversation becomes about us. When the other person does the same, gold becomes lead. Instead of making the conversation about you, work to understand the other person's perspective as well as they do. You don't have to agree. You do have an obligation to understand. A conversation is not a race to a point, but rather an exploration of someone's mind. -- Shane Parrish

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