Learning to listen is like wearing mental X-ray specs

The greatest insights I have ever had into myself and other human beings, (and in spite of being a climber and a sailor, some of the greatest adventures too) have been in group therapy.

Because however much I learn by speaking myself, being able to listen to another person who feels safe and secure being open about their feelings in a situation where there are no interruptions makes me realise two things.

Firstly, people are incredibly similar and over the period of a lifetime have mostly the same emotional experiences to a greater or lesser degree. And secondly, by listening attentively and watching, you can recognise that humanity in others on a daily basis.

Expand Close

I remember being with a man who I had always thought of as arrogant and overbearing, until he told a story that when he swaggered into the bar full of bravado and bonhomie, he actually felt like a little kid who wasn’t really grown up enough to be there. I remember thinking that there were probably one or two more in that bar feeling the same way. I always wanted to be part of the ‘In’ crowd too, and would gravitate to whoever I thought was the hippest person there.

I know today that when I give my time to someone who is perhaps a little less secure, the need to compete slips away and I feel good.

You can observe a lot just by watching.

Yogi Berra, baseball manager and player

When someone is talking to me, if I can quieten my mind down, listen attentively, leave a gap at the end of their words and leave off thinking of my own response until then… then I learn a great deal about them and I command their attention when I speak.

When to Listen And when not to
00:00 / 1:06