Listening to Others

I have so many personal biases, I find it very difficult to listen to others without filtering all the information through my biased perception.  Everything somebody says, I quickly make a value judgment on the importance to me and my view on what was said.  I understand this is normal but I think I miss out on many things because they are outside my view.

I like to use the example of looking at a garden.  I may see a beautiful garden.  However if I am familiar with the names of flowers and how difficult it is to grow certain types, I will see many different things.  I am looking at the garden with two different biases.

So in listening to people, if I could focus on the uniqueness of that individual I might hear much more.  Every person sees the world though a unique set of experiences.  Often because I disagree with that person, rather than listen to his point of view I am busy mustering arguments and protecting my view.  I miss so many opportunities to learn new things.

I recall when I was working to get a Master's degree in Adlerian psychology, to qualify for the program I had to take undergraduate psychology courses.  I was an engineer by training and took one industrial psychology course in all my years of study.  As I entered the undergraduate psych courses, I was concerned that I would lose some of the good Adlerian stuff and get corrupted by other ideas.  I quickly changed my approach because I realized I would lose out on such a great opportunity.

Being open to new ideas and different approaches makes life, the universe, and everything much more interesting and fun.

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