I was skimming through some weekly newsletters from Angela Duckworth, a psychologist, author and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. This one caught my attention. It gave me pause to consider my interactions with others. Especially in terms of what kind of a listener I am. Do I fully listen? Do I allow the other person to fully express whatever is on their mind? When I ask a question, do I really want to hear their answer? I believe that for the most part the answers to those questions are yes. To be honest, there are times I have caught myself drifting. We all probably are a little guilty of that. My intent is to fully listen and look at each interaction as an opportunity to get better. Following is Angela’s article.
“It’s hard to know how someone feels unless you ask...and listen. In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic, The Little Prince, there’s a scene where the prince is lying in the grass, weeping. He’s just come to the realization that the rose to whom he had been entirely devoted—whose beauty he assumed was unique in the universe—is just one of thousands of roses, each one like the next.
Then a fox comes by. “I’m feeling so sad,” the prince says to the fox. And the fox listens. He does not try to convince the prince that he should be happy. He does not run away. Before they part, the fox tells the prince:
“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
Don’t assume that the people in your life are fine. Don’t assume that what you see is all there is to know.
Do ask “How are you feeling?” and then—without judging, interrupting, or correcting—listen.”