Life & Philosophy

The listener relationship

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Who’s your trampoline? Who’s the person you can depend on to bounce off ideas when you get stuck or need an additional opinion? I’m not talking about receipients who provide you the desultory nod.  

There’s a good listener out there always waiting. But you must compel yourself to ask. No one is going to pop the question for you. 

Be cautious of approval though. The creator seeks input and a fresh approach, not reassurance. Discontent becomes self-evident. Nothing lights the flame of a creator more than a tangle of insightful contradictions. 

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Productivity & Work Psychology

Do audiobooks count as reading?

listening to audiobooks is reading
Reading with your ears.

“Did you read the book?” she asked.

“Yes, I listed to the audiobook.”

“So, you didn’t really read it. You might as well just wait until they make the movie.”

Does listening to books count as reading? According to University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham,

“If you take the question from the perspective of cognitive psychology — that is, the mental processes involved — there is no real difference between listening to a book and reading it. So, according to that understanding of the question: No, audiobooks are not cheating.”

When it comes to reading, there are two processes: decoding the words and understanding what they mean. Reading takes work.

“But by about late elementary school, decoding becomes so second-nature that it isn’t any additional “work” for your brain. It happens automatically.”

Bragging about reading is a sense of pride that harks back to our classroom mentality. However, reading can make you a better listener. If you can stay focused and read a book for at least a half hour a day and avoid skimming, reading can also help you live longer.

So, as long as you are not fast-forwarding the audiobook, let other members in book club brag all they want. You still read the book. You just with read it with your ears.


Turns Out Your Kids Really Did Love That Music You Played

Participants in a study on musical memory didn’t just say they remembered and loved the music that was popular in the early ’80s, when their parents were young. They also loved the music of the ’60s, which their grandparents may have been blasting while changing Mom’s diapers. And the 20-year-olds of today liked the older songs as much as the new stuff they listen to with peers.

Music is timeless. It’s all about the vibe. Thank goodness my Dad played European electronic music for me as a kid.



More/Less Control

Some of us like to play DJ; others like to leave Pandora on and let it DJ for them.

Some people prefer to play the role of the assistant while others bask in the moment of leadership.

Some people like to sit passenger; others like to drive.

Some people want absolute control and some people want to sit back and take less responsibility.

Happiness comes down to discovering the sweet spot in between: we prefer the confidence of control but sometimes letting go can be more peaceful.

Toggling between leadership and relegation depends on the situation. Stand up when it matters and let go when the occasion requires more listening.


Using Your ‘Third Ear’

“I am convinced that I have a third ear. I listen, and I really pay attention and try very hard to understand the nuances. I tell people that I will listen to what they say, and will try to incorporate what I can from their suggestions if I think they fit the objective we’re trying to achieve. If we’re not going to do what they’re suggesting, I’ll tell them why. I think people deserve that. I will tell you why, and then we will proceed. I think it works, because people feel that they were listened to, and were given the respect of an answer about why I might disagree. You gain a lot by being respectful of people’s ideas.” – Joyce Brown, F.I.T



Viewpoint: Could one man have shortened the Vietnam War?

Malcolm Gladwell digs up a Vietnam War story to highlight the importance of listening in removing detrimental bias:

Listening is hard because the more you listen, the more unsettling the world becomes. It’s a lot easier just to place your hands over your ears and not listen at all.

Listen up. Face the music. Ignore bias for reality. Go with your gut and speak up when others are myopic.

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