I felt myself fidgeting, glancing sideways at the clock, mind wandering, head bobbing, not so much in agreement, but as the slightest indication that I was still somewhat listening. Between moments of tuning out, I picked up a snippet of what was just said that held a great deal of depth and profundity. It made me wonder…
What else had I missed?
Everyone is busy; so much so that it’s hardly an accepted excuse, anymore.
Everyone has places to be, things to do, errands to run and people to meet.
With the demand for multi-task-ability, it’s increasingly difficult to just be present; to slow down; to give undivided attention to the task at hand. But, as long as we’re only partially-attentive to what’s happening, there must be some great things we’re missing as our minds undulate in and out of present consciousness.
I started thinking about how I feel when, as I am speaking to someone, I see their eyes darting side to side, their focus everywhere but on my words, their fidgeting and so-called subtle peeks at their watches.
It feels pretty awful.
Like what I had to say held no importance and that I might as well have consulted a brick wall… or bobble head doll.
(So, time to time I’ll play the let’s-see-if-you’re-really-paying-attention-to-me game and embed a blatantly random statement between my sentences. Perhaps I’ll toss in a fun fact about emusas I’m talking about something great that happened in a Zumba class. Head nodding and “mmhmm-ing” continues without a hitch? You lose!)
My point is this: I do respect the importance of each and every one of our busy lives and packed schedules. There is a time a place to for complete and utter consideration. Sometimes, we just want to simply decompress the stuff in our minds by putting thoughts in to words and we don’t expect undivided attention.
Then, there are times when our minds are clearly scattered elsewhere as we “listen” to someone speak when we should question how importantly pressing the other stuff really is. Is it really imperative we think about it at that moment? Is it worth possibly missing something significant spoken to us?
When I was noticed that I was hearing, not listening to what was being said, I realized my rudeness in assuming my “stuff” held more importance than theirs.
So, I stopped the fidgeting, held my gaze and refocused attention to the moment at hand, reallypaying the same respect I would hope to receive if I were the speaker.
After all, that other stuff I thought was so pressing wasn’t going to spontaneously combust into a chaotic disaster… it would all be there when I was ready to pay attention to it.