Listen, don’t lecture

2 minutes reading time

I have a tendency to start lecturing when I’m sure of my views—it doesn’t mean I’m right, but I can go on and on (and on, says my wife). I’m ready to check off all the reasons I’m right, and they’re wrong. This is where your ego is your enemy.

The problem is, I haven’t listened to the other person’s views. Maybe if I did, I could actually learn something new.

When I think I know something I act like the expert, when, if I were, it’s better to listen. In my business, as a consultant, my first job is to listen. There’s no way I can recommend a course of action to help them if I haven’t first taken the time to understand where they are and what they want to achieve. One of the seven habits is listen first to understand, and then be understood. It is only after we have listened that we can assimilate our thoughts and then try to articulate them clearly.

Learn to be curious, more open-minded, and accept others can have different views to you. You can listen, and pay attention without passing judgement. You don’t have to agree, but you may find new evidence which changes your own thoughts—and that’s a win. Or perhaps you realise you were wrong, that you jumped the gun and assumed something that wasn’t true without any evidence.

De Mello said that one of the three hardest things to do in life is admitting you’re wrong. If, as Stoics, we believe that virtue is the highest good then we must be ready to apologise, realise we were wrong and ask for forgiveness.


Got any questions or comments? Drop me a message on Twitter (@elaptics).