Sunday, 26 February 2012

My listening's going as I age...

You know, it seems backward, but it seems like I've gotten worse at listening to people as I've gotten older.

People say that as you age, you gain wisdom from your life experience right?  I think my problem is that I took that theory to heart.  I jumped to the part where I think I'm wise, but I skipped over the part where you actually do the gaining of the wisdom.

See, wisdom doesn't come with age.  Being old comes with age.  Wisdom comes with practice over time.

So, when I catch myself turning a conversation back to myself and my experiences, because my sagely wisdom has a solution for the person, I'm actually being the opposite of wise.  I can't learn anything from someone if I'm filling the airwaves with stuff I already know.

I think I need to learn to shut up and listen.  Most people feel more 'heard' if I DON'T offer advice or answers.  That's not why people talk to me.

I have a theory that advice follows supply and demand principles.  If you have lots of it to offer, people won't be asking you for it.  If you keep your opinions under your hat as a rule, you might find that people might seek them out a little more regularly.

So, give people a longer listen than you're used to.  We both might learn a little more.  And I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way about advice: If you're getting it for free it's not worth much.


  1. Here's something I picked up during my book-selling days: maybe the only useful thing I got out of that summer:

    "the value of experience is overrated, usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly"

    followed by:

    "In truth, experience teaches thoroughly yet her course of instruction devours men's years so the value of her lessons diminishes with the time necessary to acquire her special wisdom. The end finds it wasted on dead men. Furthermore, experience is comparable to fashion: an action that proved successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow."

    -Og Mandino
    The Greatest Salesman in the World

    1. And... from the strangest of places... the best line in the movie "Avatar" --

      "You can't fill a glass that is already full."