Before I went on hiatus I had started a series based on my list of Habits of Successful People. So far we have discussed habits 1-6 which you can find here, Number 1, Numbers 2 &3, Number 4, Number 5, Number 6, to refresh your memory. Today I want to talk about the next habit on the list: #7 Slow to speak, quick to listen.
By nature I am a talker and it takes effort for me to sit and listen to someone else talk. I have worked very hard to make sure that I am listening and hearing the other person. When you are a talker it is very easy to hear zero words coming from the other person’s mouth simply because you are too busy formulating the next piece of awesomeness that you plan to say.
After all, just about every word that comes from your mouth is a jewel of knowledge and most people who are not you are, well, less intelligent and need to be informed!
Keep in mind that not every human being is the same and we are diverse for a specific reason; diversity is the spice of life. If everyone were listening, no one would be speaking. If we all were talkers, no one would be listening! Different personalities serve to provide a vast network of different types of people who allow businesses, society, organizations to fill vital roles and construct a well-rounded group to work to a common goal(s).
Back to the lecture at hand…it is important to listen. I will bet every individual reading this has a go-to person that they seek out to vent, get advice or talk to when in need. That person provides great perspective and deep insights into life and your current predicament. I will also hazard a guess that they sit and listen patiently while you go on and on about life and the burden you carry each day.
Listening is a skill. And with every skill comes the opportunity to develop said skill, which means you too can work hard to develop the skill of being a good listener. And I will strongly encourage you to do so.
Being a listener has many benefits:
- Shows you find value in others and value in their opinion or thought.
- Expresses that you do not know everything and are willing to learn or consider other viewpoints.
- Allows one to think before one speaks
- Allows you to have all the necessary information before the time of decision
- Allows you to be fully informed when forming opinions and world-views
- Teaches one to be kind, compassionate and caring
- Garners respect from others as people like those that listen
- Allows you to better understand others
- Helps you to better understand how to problem solve
- Allows you to heed good advice
From my experience the one quality that I appreciate most about good listeners is I feel like they truly appreciate my thoughts and ideas; they care. When all is said and done we all want to know that someone out in this world cares about us and cares about what we are going through. And cares enough to sit and listen to us even if we can be a little whiny and complainy. Yes, I just made that word up, complainy…deal with it!
Successful people develop the trait of being good listeners for the same reason Ford surrounded himself with very smart people in a variety of positions: they realize their knowledge is limited and rely on others to fill the gaps. When you listen you learn what others know and are able to determine if they can help you or help your company. If you have the attitude that you know it all, then you will probably end up doing it all…by yourself!!
Successful people realize the importance of listening and valuing others and their views/opinions to show respect and to learn. I strongly encourage you to work to develop this skill as the benefits are far-reaching.
As in all things, success in any arena requires effort. Even the lottery winner had to leave home and drive to the store to buy a ticket. I advocate adopting specific habits that will point you in the direction of success; I call this Designing Your Life. Will living a healthy lifestyle, paying off credit card debt, learning to be a good listener, reading non-fiction, avoiding gambling, networking, living within your means, avoiding toxic people, having a mentor, having a single life goal and waking 3 hours before work automatically produce success? Maybe not, but these life habits will give you a far greater chance than doing the opposite OR doing nothing at all.
Take time to assess your habits and compare them to the level of success or goal achievement in your life. Is it time for you to reevaluate your set of habits?