The Dalai Lama on listening

A spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate is often expected to be quiet and to speak very little and very thoughtfully. And that is exactly how it is with the current Dalai Lama. But this is no coincidence, but based on his own conviction: always listen well.

Thus, the following quote is also unsurprising:

When you speak, you only repeat what you already know. But if you listen, you can learn new things."

The 14th Dalai Lama

It is important to learn to listen. We live in a time when it is common practice to publish one's opinion on the Internet as much as possible. However, you cannot learn anything new from your own thought patterns. For this very reason, it is important that you listen to others, try to understand them and expand your own horizons.

The saying: "Every man has two ears to hear, but only one mouth to speak".. probably everyone has heard or read somewhere. Of course, you can take this saying apart in a logical way and say that two ears help us locate sounds and one mouth is enough because you can't express more information than you are able to think anyway. Nevertheless, I think there is nothing wrong with learning to listen.

There are some advantages to letting everyone else talk and listen first in a group discussion.

  1. It makes everyone feel like they contributed and that the person was heard.
  2. You have the advantage of having all the views presented to you and being able to re-evaluate your opinion based on what you hear.

Listening to someone is something you have to learn. Because the problem with listening is:

Most people listen not to understand but to respond.“

Stephen R. Covey

This is also a reason why you prefer to talk to some people - because they are not just listening to say something, but because they really want to understand what you have to say to them. So it's important that when you listen to someone, you try to understand what their point of view is.

A good tip for this I got from Jordan B. Peterson. When you are talking to someone, anyone, listen carefully to what the person has to say. When they are finished, don't respond, but summarize what the other person said. If the person you are talking to agrees that you have summarized it correctly, then you have understood their point of view and can now respond.

Alan Watts once said that someone who talks all the time will eventually have nothing more to say except what he has already said. So it is important to be quiet and listen.

So the next time you talk to someone, don't try to say what you've said many times before and repeat yourself. Try to listen to learn something new or to understand your counterpart better.

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