I am a quiet person and there are times I can’t get a word in edgewise (don’t worry, I also enjoy talking as well). It is not a bad thing as I then listen to other people talk and soak in their words and ideas. I’m by far not a master listener, as I was very convicted when listening to this podcast. The human default is to want to be heard, but our human defaults quite frequently aren’t helping us out and probably get us into trouble. In fact, I’m starting to think shutting up is one more secret to a good life.

Before we look at why we should shut up, take a look at listening. There’s the type where you physically hear the tones and words, but that is it, you weren’t paying attention. Then there’s the listening where you do retain the information, but it is kept in the brain as facts. The listening that is the most difficult is the type where we take action. It is this type of listening that changes your life or the life of others.

Listening is Critical

The old saying goes, you’ve got two ears and one mouth. Proverbs tells us that if you keep your mouth shut, you’ll be considered wise. Why can we not get this one thing straight? Unfortunately we don’t listen to these words of wisdom.

Listening Gives Us Insight

If we boil down what all of us do for a living it would come down to problem solving, amright? Sales, design, service-oriented professions,  — it is applying our skill and knowledge to solve someone’s problem. We do not know the problem until we have knowledge and to get that knowledge you have to— you guessed it, listen! It is the ability to listen that makes one professional stand out from the others. The trick is to listen for opportunities to serve.

Listening Gives Us Knowledge

We all want someone to listen to us, it is a deep human need. On the other side of that coin is many people that have things to say, and these people have seen and done many things in their lives and professions. One thing I love is to sit and talk to people who have been in their industry for at least a decade, or an older person who gives you a living chapter of history. Listen to the lessons and listen to what they did to succeed.

Listening Gives Encouragement

Hearing other people’s stories can show us that we’re not the only ones. Knowing someone got through a rough patch or overcame an obstacle gives us a glimmer of that light at the end of a tunnel. But we have to be out there with people that will pass on that encouragement. On the other hand, listening to the wrong person will do the opposite.

Listening Keeps Us Humble

Spending the time to listen to someone’s story, and by listening I mean being engaged and soaking in the words, is time where we have pushed pause on our selves. We need that every now and then and the act of listening can be something you use to encourage and help another person. Who knows what you will learn or what advice someone may give you if you take the time to close your own mouth and engage the ears.

Alright, I’m shutting up now.