Listening and hearing

By Mostafa Elkadi. Mostafa is from Cairo, Egypt. Please read his entry and leave your thoughts below.

“Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Those were some very strong words, spoken by Stephen R. Covey, that represents our daily basic life. Whenever a person is speaking, the person whom is spoken to would constantly try to interrupt them. Of course that’s due to the fact that they need to reply, even though the speaker did not finish his sentence, but the urge to reply just eats the listener from the inside.

We all do this kind of interruptions in our daily lives; we think that we are right; we assume that we know what the speaker wants to say, so we interrupt him midway in his speech and reply. However, most of time we are wrong, most of the time we are skeptical, and we judge the speech from its intro and then cut it off. A small example would be that adults hear young people all the time, but they don’t really listen, and that is why there is a generation gap. The old issue their judgments at the young as early as they open their mouths. The young don’t like to be over-criticized. Thus this creates miscommunication between the two generations.

Those small interruptions could end up being the reason why this child does not talk anymore; when they grow up, they may be too fearful from saying something wrong, or from sounding stupid, and if they fear saying something wrong, then they will never reach anywhere in life. Because a person only learns or gets experience by making mistakes, no one was ever born perfect, everyone has their flaws and we need to work on them.

We could see that the world is at its worst stages now; we could see that threats are the strongest weapons for men with power, whilst meaningful speeches lost their value; almost everybody criticizes meaningful speeches if it is not threating.

A lot of social and political problems could be solved with simple dialogues, for example the issue of divorce nowadays is proliferating more than ever, why? Kids are having hard times with communicating with their parents, why? Because people are not really listening anymore, people just hear their partners/parents speaking, and then reply, without giving it enough thought, people need to be aware that their strongest weapon is their words, words could lift a person up high to the sky, and it could shatter a person’s will, it could start wars and it could end them, so at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves a question, which is whether winning the argument is worth shattering a persons will? Is it really worth it? When a shy person builds up the confidence and finally speaks, is it beneficial to knock him down again and interrupt him? Why not listen till the end and hear what he has to say? Even if what he has to say is wrong, why not give constructive feedback and support the guy that just built up his confidence to talk? We do not know everything, we never will know everything, yet we are all ignorant of that fact, but the truth is that we are nothing and we need to listen and think in order to process the information, to know more, to understand more and be the best version of us.

Thus, In conclusion, we need to listen to what people has to say, we need more understanding in our communities, in our lives, basically anywhere where there is human interactions, more than we need anything else, sometimes just saying what you have to say without having a reply is comforting, we need to stop just hearing people speak, we need to listen.

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