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International Day of Listening

By David Penglase

 

My life’s mantra for some time now is...

 

to be more intentionally mindful in more moments that matter more often.

What I’ve certainly learned, and I know it won’t come as any surprise to you, is that living up to my mantra is a lot easier said than done.

For most of us, me included, there is so much noise and distraction trying to use up the finite capacity of our conscious minds, that it is very easy to quickly fall into the trap of unintentional mindlessness… not being present in the moments that ought to matter to us, or the moments that matter to the other people in our lives when we’re with them.

Are you listening… really listening when you’re with your child, partner, colleague, manager, client, supplier or whoever it is that you’re in a conversation with?

One of the most important contributors to a person’s sense of self-worth is a strong belief that they are being heard, that they are being listened to by the people who are important to them in their life.

#ReallyListening

I know we have an international day of happiness, and an international day of trust, and an international day of… well, so many things. However, while in the USA there apparently is a national day of listening (it’s held on the Friday after Thanksgiving), I reckon it would be a great day if we had an Intentional Day of Listening.

And Here's Why

The Beyond Blue Group’s research suggests that in any one day in Australia more than 1 million adults suffer from depression and over 2 million suffer from anxiety. On average, 1 in 6 people – 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men – will experience depression at some stage of their lives.

While I’m not suggesting for one moment that listening is a cure for depression or anxiety, what I am suggesting, is with these shocking numbers of depression and anxiety, let’s not leave it up to our national R.U.O.K. day to be the only day where we focus on how we might be able to help those who are in need… who need to know that they’re not alone, that they’re loved, and that when they’re ready to talk… we’re going to be there for them and to intentionally be mindful in this moment that matters… we will intentionally listen to what they have to say, what they’re experiencing and to be there for them by asking, if there’s anything we can do to help.

#ReallyListening

But wait… we could each make every day our own Day of Listening… if everyone chose to be more mindful in more moments that matter more often, to be present when we’re with the people who matter in our lives, to really listen intentionally, perhaps we achieve an even greater outcome than singling out just one day in the calendar year.

I know this makes sense to you – especially when I refer to the people who matter in your life.

But what about those who aren’t that important… how much of a positive impact could you make if you stopped for a moment and became intentionally mindful and present and genuinely acknowledge the people who aren’t really all that important in your life (but you might be to them). Think about the people who serve you your coffee, or who scan your groceries, or ask you if you want some Extra chewing gum with your petrol?

The Tap and Go Trap

I found myself falling into the trap of losing eye contact with tap and go transactions… how dare I. It’s not easy, but it should be… stopping for a moment while tapping with your credit card… looking up at the person who is serving you, smiling and saying thanks.

Simple things make a difference in big ways to people who might be struggling with finding any meaning in their lives. Simple things like listening, smiling, and just ‘being there’. Be that person who brings more meaning in other people's lives - it's one of the most highly associated elements that positively impact a person's wellbeing and life satisfaction... and you can directly and positively impact the meaning a person gets from their life, simply by 'being there' and listening.

To be more intentionally mindful in more moments that matter more often – it’s a mantra that I am proud to be struggling with and grateful to be winning the battle of disruption, distraction and noise that is fighting against my capacity for mindfulness.

Warmly,

David.

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