Listening Problems

Listening Problems

A year or two ago, my wife and I had been trying to purchase wood flooring. It was at that time in short supply, and I had become used to hearing the words “It is out of stock.” With one particular wood flooring store, we inquired about a particular wood that my wife and I really liked. The sales person said that he would call the supplier to find out if it was available. However, I was convinced that it would not be.

Some minutes later the sales person returned and reported what he had been told by the supplier. In frustration, I immediately said to the sales person that I think we should just focus on having him only point out the woods that he already knows are available that might meet our stated preferences.

At this point, my wife turned to me and said “Why? He has just told us that the wood we want is actually available.”

That’s not what I thought I heard. I heard only what I was expecting to hear – “the wood is not available.”

How often do we only hear what we are expecting to hear? We think we are listening but we are not paying attention. Our mind is preoccupied with assumptions and presumptions. We only hear what we think we are going to hear.

Just think about it. How often is this the situation when we are conversing with someone at work or even socially?

It doesn’t matter at what stage we are at in our lives, most of us need to make an effort to hone our listening skills. We need to listen to what is actually being said and not what we assume or presume will be stated.