I can be really selfish. It’s not always intentional, but I can be. I talk a lot. I want to be heard, and it seems logical that if we say a lot, we will be heard. But in the times where I successfully talk less and devote myself to listening more, I have learned that when I do speak, it means so much more. Saying less and listening more is the way to be heard. This is the first reason why it’s good to stop talking so much, but there are certainly others.
We can actually gain wisdom from listening more. When we start to focus on other people in our lives, wonderful things can happen. The easiest way to do this is by actually listening to them when they speak instead of just aiming to say our piece. In doing so, we gain a deeper understanding of the world we live in and the people we share it with. There is so much insight not only in the actual words that people say, but the subtext underneath and also the way the words are said. We would miss all this if we just waited for them to stop talking so we could say our thing. The world is more complex than we know.
People like us more. When people feel like they’re truly being heard by somebody, they probably like that person more. Paying attention is a great gift that is rarely given (except to digital screens). We are all dying for somebody to listen to us. It means that we are valued. This is an awesome way to show respect, but also earn it.
Our words matter more if there are fewer of them. This is two-fold. The first reason is because if we don’t aim to dominate the conversation, our ideas and meaning aren’t as lost in the flow. The second reason is that when we listen more and say less, we choose what we say more carefully. It’s easy to say a lot. It’s difficult to say a little.
Try it out. I can guarantee you will notice a shift in your life. You will gain more wisdom through insight, increase the amount of people who like you, and it will make your words matter more. It takes work at first because our natural inclination is to speak and be heard, but talk less, listen more, and then reap the benefits.