Thanks to T. Harv Eker for turning me on to this in one of his workshops.
The process that happens when we use these three words is dangerous to our mental and physical health.
It is anathema to our spiritual growth.
It puts the brakes on learning.
It creates calcification of attitude.
It makes us rigid, instead of flexible.
It sets us up for failure.
What are these three culprit words?
“I know that.”
They are simple words. If we find ourselves thinking those words when we are listening to new ideas, we can shut out learning about new information that may benefit us.
If we, even subconsciously and maybe automatically, default to the process of “pigeon-holing” ideas, concepts, theories, presentations and even people, we create a wall between us and new and potentially useful information.
It may be the ego’s way of defending itself. The ego has to feel superior. If it admits that it doesn’t know something, it feels inferior. So, at the earliest opportunity, it takes the stance that it already knows what is being presented to it.
All new information is quickly catalogued into an already familiar pigeon-hole. As soon as that is done, the ego no longer has to feel inferior. That’s why the ego does it at the earliest opportunity.
As soon as the pigeonholing is done, the ego now is ready to talk and no longer listening and taking in any more information. Any information being presented after that point is not being processed. Often times, the ego will interrupt the speaker with its point of view.
Does any of this sound familiar? It may be very much easier to see others do this than to notice ourselves doing it. Trust me, we all do it. 🙂
If you are keen on learning and growing and delighting in the adventure of exploring new vistas in life, there is an antidote.
That antidote is listening with keen interest. If we accept that every one we meet has something to teach us, that makes it easier.
Conversely, if we think that we know best and others need to listen to us, we are victims of the “I Know That Virus.”
To bathe in the delight of learning, the adventure of exploring new and exciting vistas, listening deeply is a major key.
How do we do that? The next time someone says something to you, try this. Instead of waiting for your turn to speak, listen closely to what is being said with the intent of “sucking the marrow” out of whatever knowledge and wisdom may be contained in their talk. Take mental notes as if you were to be tested on the material later.
Then, when the speaker pauses, instead of offering our viewpoint we can choose to ask a question. There will usually be something that the speaker either left out of their story or something that triggered our curiosity to know more.
Then, ask another question. And another. And another.
You may find as I have that these questions do a number of things. First, you may find you learn something new and possibly useful that you did not know before. (You may find yourself surprised at this.)
Also, you may find yourself making a deeper and friendlier, more intimate connection with the speaker. You did after all show keen interest in them. The most interesting subject to any human is themselves. When you show an interest in them, you are sharing a common interest.
If you spend an hour with someone just asking questions and listening, they may comment what a great conversationalist you are. 🙂
Benefits: You can learn something new. It may be useful in your life. You may make a new friend or deepen the connection with an existing one. And you may gain a reputation as a great conversationalist.
This is a learned skill, this asking of questions. If you are speaking with a trained salesperson, you may quickly find them starting to ask you questions. It may be easy to fall into just speaking about yourself. Before you know it, you may be talking at length about your favourite subject, yourself. 🙂
At that point, you have a choice to notice that and start asking questions about with the sincere intent to learn. If you do, you may well find yourself learning new and surprising things. This is a wonderful life enrichment skill that you can use anywhere at any time.
Have fun learning this skill.
Trackback from your site.