Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans


30 June 2016


Yesterday I held a speech at Joan’s funeral. Some 2 weeks ago, Joan had read my speech and she had approved the 2nd draft. She was eager to know how important she had been in my life. I remember how difficult it was for me to balance each word, to highlight her rather than me. My 1st draft was not approved and I knew she was right. My 2nd draft came straight from my heart rather than from my mind. Each word was about her importance in my life.

A friend asked me to write a blog about listening versus talking. I am not much of a talker, usually. I prefer listening, at least when I am interested. Joan’s approval of my speech gave me the strength to publicly express her importance in my life. Afterwards, I quickly escaped into my solitude to recover from losing her after reconnecting with her again.

According to a 2015 (Dutch) article in Psychology Magazine (Blendle), nearly all people are not good listeners. We are easily distracted and we even feel better when we talk ourselves. The article gives 4 reasons why careful listening is hard: 1) we don’t appreciate listening, 2) listening is too easy, 3) we are (too) eager to respond, 4) talking about ourselves stimulates the same brain areas as food, sex and drugs.

The 1st reason is an intriguing one as listening requires a sender, message, and receiver. In my view, listening is the preferred option but only in case the sender has a message which contains some added value to me. In case the message is not interesting then multitasking (see #2) indeed becomes quite easy in my mind. The article refers to checking your mental “to do” list and I relate to that.

In my view, reason #3 largely depends on the likability of the sender. I’m not at all eager to interrupt a woman whom I like. To some extent, it’s the same with men. People whom I don’t like either get my silent treatment or my disciplined anger. Finally, there is another big difference as I am much more inclined to listen in business than in private affairs.

I do not genuinely relate to reason #4. However, when I do start talking then it’s usually to compete, to convince, to impress, to teach, and sometimes even to bully someone else into silence. I suppose indeed these very same brain areas may get affected.

Ultimately, I think, feel and believe that listening fits one of my earlier diagrams. See my 31 March 2016 blog: Why are opinions stronger than facts?

We listen when we are interested in knowledge and facts.

We talk in case of beliefs and opinions.

We share (ie, talk & listen) in case of feelings.

We dream about imagination and fantasies.

Talk Talk – Such a Shame (1984) – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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