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Listening WRONG

     Have you ever had an occasion when someone asked your opinion about something, and before you could finish responding, they cut you off?  Right smack-dab in the middle of your statement, they start talking like you haven't uttered a word.  Remember how frustrated you felt?  Maybe not the first time, but around the fourth or fifth time, you're done.  Either you're escaping the conversation physically or you've tuned out altogether.  After all, why do you have to contribute?  The individual seems to be having the conversation all by himself.  That's listening wrong.
     Listening wrong is not the same as misunderstanding what someone said or misinterpreting what you thought you heard.  That would require thought.  Most wrong listening comes as a result of not thinking about what's being said.  An example is trying to multitask while someone is talking to you.  Yesterday, I instructed my nine-year-old daughter to remove the lid from the pot if she should hear it boil over while I was in the bathroom.  I didn't want to turn the heat down because I would only be gone for a couple minutes, and I needed to get dinner finished.  She cooks with me on occasion so I felt comfortable she could do something as simple as turn down the heat and remove the lid completely if she heard the contents boil over.  While I was giving her these simple instructions, she wouldn't take her eyes off the television.  So I said what every parent says:  "Are you listening to me?"  Of course her reply was as automatic as my phone ringing everyday at 6 p.m. with calls from telemarketers:  "Yeah, I heard you."  So I said what we all say:  ""Then what did I say?"  She finally looks from the TV and says, "You said if the pot boils over, put the top on it."  Wrong listening.
     Take time to give people your undivided attention to make sure you are processing all that they are saying.  If it's only going to take a minute, then you're not losing anything major in the grand scale of life.  In fact, you might be saving yourself a big headache by tuning in.  Carelessly tuning out can cost you in ways you'd rather not pay.  So here's a bit of advice to save yourself some hassle:  since listening is a choice, choose to listen.


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