Monday, September 4, 2017

Trying to Listen Louder


A man realized he needed to purchase a hearing aid, but he felt unwilling to spend much money. “How much do they run?” he asked the clerk.

“That depends,” said the salesman. “They run from $3.00 to $3,000.”

“Let’s see the $3.00 model,” he said.

The clerk put the device around the man’s neck. “You just stick this button in your ear and run this little string down to your pocket,” he instructed.

“How does it work?” the customer asked. “For $3.00 – it doesn’t work,” the salesman replied. “But when people see it on you, they’ll TALK LOUDER.”

Maybe that’s the one to buy. Another man, talking to his neighbor, said, “I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me eight hundred dollars, but it's state of the art. It's perfect.”

“Really!” his neighbor exclaimed. “What kind is it?”

“Twelve thirty.” 

As you know, most communication problems are not due to people with hearing problems. It’s that we more often have listening problems. Psychologist Carl Rogers said, “A person’s real need, a most terrible need, is for someone to listen…not as a ‘patient’ but as a human soul.” To listen well is to respond to a great human yearning. Maybe that’s one of the reasons folks will pay hundreds of dollars an hour for no other reason than to have someone listen to them. When someone truly listens it is rare and beautiful.

One small child put it like this: “I’ll try to listen louder.” What might happen if you “listened louder” today?

-- Steve Goodier

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