I remember in kindergarten, we used to play a game named Telephone.

The teacher would have the children sit in a circle.  She would write a sentence on a piece of paper.  She would then select a student.  That student would get up and the teacher would show the sentence to that one student.  The student would rejoin the circle and tell the sentence to the student on the right.  The student listening could have the other student repeat the sentence if they didn’t hear it.  We were told to whisper the sentence to the other student.  When the sentence had traveled through all the students, the last student said the sentence out loud.  The teacher would then show us the sentence that was written on the piece of paper.  We never got the sentence correct.  Some where between being whispered or the student not listening, the sentence had been changed.

Looking back on this simple game, it has taught me a valuable lesson.

Word of mouth can change things depending on if the person is listening.

Listening and hearing are two different things.

Have you ever heard a song and right after not be able to tell someone what the artist said?

I have.  Even in some conversations, it is hard to listen.  I found myself thinking about my response to what the other person said instead of listening to what that person is saying.

One of my action steps from my life coach was to really listen in my conversations for 2 weeks.  I have to say that I learned a lot from that action step.  It taught me to be present in the moment.  To listen to another person, I couldn’t focus on my response.  I had to listen to what the other person was saying and take it in and process it.  Sometimes the response that I would have said wasn’t valid anymore because I listened and heard what the other person was saying.  This is when I learned that hearing and listening are two different things.

When I listened I was taking in the information that the other person was saying and processing it.  When I was just hearing what the other person was saying I was really thinking about what I was going to say next.  It took more concentration on my part to quiet my mind and to stop forming a response before I listened to the other person.

I looked up the definition of hearing and it is to perceive sound.

When I’m at work, I can hear so many things and not listen to them.  I’ve got the call light beeping, the IV pump beeping, the bed alarm beeping, and the phone call.  I have learned to tune some of them out at times because it gets to be too much noise at once at times.  I can only attend to one of those things at a time.  It can get really noisy at a hospital at times.

Listening to understand is different than hearing what someone is saying.

I challenge you in the next 2 weeks, to really listen in the conversations that you have.  Let me know if you notice anything.  Do you notice that it takes a bit more concentration to listen to the other person?  Do you notice how easy it is to be forming a response in your head even while the other person is talking?

I hope that kids in kindergarten are still playing the game, Telephone.  That childhood game taught me a valuable lesson.

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