The Listening Revolution
In William Ury’s TED talk on “The power of listening”, the world-famous negotiator and resolver of conflicts suggests that to prevent conflicts before they start almost always starts with the simple step of listening. He advocates for a ‘listening revolution’, turning today’s age of communication into an “Age of Listening”.
The Lost Art of Empathetic Listening
Not that it was ever easy to really listen. Listening requires being intentional, focusing on the other and not on oneself and perhaps most importantly, having the ability to empathize. Our intrinsic instinct is towards self-preservation, making the act of sidelining our concerns to truly hear another inherently challenging. But listening is made a whole lot harder by the society we live in.
Modern Barriers to Genuine Listening
Social media and algorithms designed to increase customer engagement are engineering us to be more and more selfcentred, while the informational bombardment we experience every day makes us feel busy and anxious – lacking the mental space to truly engage with others. When you combine the above two phenomena, the result is a decrease in our ability to listen to each other.
Overwhelmed by Noise
Is there anyone out there that feels or has felt bombarded by an unreal amount of information? I certainly have felt overloaded by the noise of the amplified voices out there. So much so, that I may even have become tone-deaf to the more subtle voices I may have valued in the past.
Society’s Deaf Ear to Listening
It’s disheartening to realize that our society often sidelines genuine listening. Society doesn’t seem to value listening. I have been spending quite a bit of time recently looking for work and I see multiple jobs that focus on creating messaging. But what about jobs that highlight the importance of listening?
The Risk of Disengaging from Complexity
As we learn to scroll through the feeds of our social media accounts, being fed with content that we want to see, our generation is at risk of losing the ability to cope with complexity and to really listen to ideas that contradict our own.
The First Step: Active Listening
Before learning to comprehend, filter, analyze and synthesize complex ideas, there is one thing we have no choice but to learn how to do. We first need to learn how to listen.
The Power and Necessity of Listening
As William Ury states in his TED Talk and in the many books and articles he has written, listening has been foundational in his ability to resolve conflicts. Imagining a world where the conflicting parties lack the ability to listen is a daunting thought.
Join the Conversation
Are you a good listener? How do you cope with ideas that are different to yours? How do you engage with complexity in today’s reductionist world?
“Our generation is at risk of losing the ability to cope with complexity, to deal with nuance or to really listen to ideas that contradict our own…”