LISTEN AND FOCUS
THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN EVER GIVE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING IS TO SHUT THE F..K UP AND LISTEN TO THEM
I know you know how to listen. I know you care. But I think we can all improve how we listen. We can implement active listening skills which means we must interrupt the speaker frequently. Yes, good listening isn’t about sitting passively waiting for the other person to finish their story. It’s about really really really understanding, through the fog, what they are really, really, really saying. No second guesses, no assumptions, no projections. My partner rang me from Cairns, “i’ve got a flat tyre” – and I replied, “omg, that’s annoying, do you have your spare tube and tools?” Her reply was “I don’t need you to help me, I’m ok, I just needed someone to tell because I’m so pissed off as it’s my second puncture in two days.” In other words, shut up and listen. It’s funny but beautiful because I’m here telling you about active listening and I fell trap to being a solution, a coach, instead of a partner. It’s too easy to be a paid coach and then come home and forget to stop. My relationship will not flourish if I coach my partner. That’s relationship suicide. We treat people as we wish them to become and instead of “hopeless woman stuck in Cairns with no knowledge of bike maintenance” (she’s a world class triathlete) I would have been better saying, “wow, lucky it’s in good hands.” That would be active listening. If it was a client, I would say “how can I help?”
THE WAY WE EAT IS THE WAY WE LISTEN
For this section of your homework today, please link to the audio podcast below and go for a gratitude walk.
RESCUE BREEDS RESENTMENT – DON’T GIVE ADVICE YOU Were Not ASKED FOR
There are those of us whose job it is to rescue people. Our work involves some serious and dangerous situations in which people are crying out for help. And when we do it, such as for me in remote area rescue, it feels rewarding to have helped save a life. BUT – sometimes that passion for feeling good about dishing out help crosses a line and we start rescuing people who were happily having a barbecue in the back garden and burnt a chop. We can start dishing out life extinguishing advice to people free without being asked. We can become a rescuer of those who don’t need it, including our children and in doing so, treat them as people who need rescuing. That’s treating people as we wish them to become in the worst possible way, weak, stupid, vulnerable, ignorant…. And that’s what they become and so they eventually will resent the help. As a coach i have to watch this step over and over. Someone says “I’m so stressed and my life is a mess, but then I don’t hear from them for a few weeks and my text to them has to be a sign that I believe they are doing great but might like to touch base rather than, is everything ok? Meaning I am not sure you’ll survive without my guru worship advice ….. We know you love to help people, especially those you love and care about. But today we are going to put an end to rescuing people who don’t ask for it. A habit that can really make you a pain in the arse and ruin a good friendship – relationship or parent-ship. No home work except to practice not giving your opinion, view, comment, advice, pointing things out, unless asked. Assume the best.
DON’T LISTEN TO ADVICE YOU DIDN’t ASK FOR OR WOULDN’T PAY FOR
Free advice, especially from your partner is the worst advice. And even worse than the worst advice is advice you didn’t ask for. Let me explain: We are attracted to people because they are different to us, not the same. That difference is what we love about them and if they were us, we wouldn’t like them anymore than we like to be alone with ourselves, so that’s clear. Every word of advice you give your partner and every piece of that advice they follow, comes from you making them more like you. That’s how friendly advice non professional advice works. We rather coat the world in leather than wear sandals. So although listening to the free opinions of your partner or family or friends might feel like a total money saving bonus, it’s definitely the opposite, it’ll cost you the relationship even if you fake it and stay married for 60 years, it’s dead and just rotting away. In cricket, when the ball is outside the off stump and it is easy to snick it to get caught behind, we say “let it go through to the keeper” which means don’t swipe at it because it’s a waste of energy and you could go out. So, when people give me advice like “oh Chris this is such a great book you should read it” i say thank you and let it go through to the great library of unread books that exist in the ether of the world. I don’t want fat people telling me how to eat or stressed people telling me how good yoga is. I choose very very very carefully who I take advice from on any topic and I always pay. If it’s not worth paying for it’s probably an opinion.
Opinions are like arseholes, everybody has one and didn’t do much to get it.
“Every human being has every human trait. They either express them or repress them. So be suspicious of advice you didn’t ask for. Most of it is encouraging you to repress what you express and express what you repress, and become, just like the person whose giving the unsolicited advice. And if they can’t shut up it’s because they don’t like who they are, hence, they are not going to like you when you become like them either.”
Chris – Da Vinci Walker