Why we struggle with listening - Deepstash

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This topic might interest you, well I hope it does, maybe, just maybe you might find a reason for reading this article. It is impossible to make it through anything, a job, studies, relationships if you do not have the ear to listen and to listen twice. I will share an experience I recently had at my workplace, hopefully, that might make you see the absolute importance of listening to understand. It’s funny how teachers used to say understanding the problem is part of the solution and that a greater part of the work is done when we understand what the question is demanding from us.


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How It Happened

I hit a terrible curve this week at work and it was brought to my attention the reason I struggle so much with doing the actual work is that I am quick to write and that has always been my problem. I may be the only one (I really hope I am not) but I used to think taking actual notes helped, no matter where you are. So from notes taking to minutes writing, the important thing for me was having actual notes to take but if I am being completely honest, referring to the notes after the lesson was over, especially if I rushed to write everything down, just made me realize 


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What I Realized

I understood very little of what was taught. The interesting thing is, it followed me everywhere I went; I would miss important information because I was always writing and never really listened to understand. I guess in my mind, I thought having notes helped because then, it was easy to refer but boy, was I wrong. I struggle now because I have this mindset, a fixed one, which believes taking notes down is the better route than actually listening to what is being said. 


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The Real Problem

There was an instruction given at work, a very simple do A, get B as the result and I thought I understood it. It was only after I got into doing A, that I realized I did not fully understand how that would get me closer to the result. My mistake was not listening attentively to the instruction that was given, to not paying full attention which affected me in the long run because I was called out and my work was ‘’rubbished’ for the rubbish it was. The work showed two things; No Real understanding of the task and no attention to detail. I struggled to make up for it.  


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What I Am Learning

The truth is, what matters when we work is that when the work is done, it must reflect an understanding of what was expected and delivery on the goal.

If you find yourself struggling with delivering actual results at work, maybe these 5 steps will help you figure things out.


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5 Tips To Help

First and most importantly, understand the task. Understanding the task will not come to you if you struggle with listening. Here’s a simple test for you: after you listen to an instruction, ask yourself what the core of the instruction was and see if you are able to remember, if you aren’t, you probably didn’t understand a word of what was said.


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Tips #2

Second, ask questions. It is not wrong to not know everything or fully understand and no one will fault you when you ask questions. One thing very important about the work we do is that, if it is not up to standard, if it falls below the belt, then we haven’t truly worked. If you struggle with anything, maybe after you received the instruction, you found yourself wondering what exactly you were asked to do, then ask questions, be clear on what that means.


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Tip #3

Third point, stop writing everything down. I’ll say that again, stop writing everything down. It is not the length of words you write but how much you have been able to consume. Think of it this way; you are better off being able to explain to someone what was said when you have a better understanding of it yourself. Writing just takes the place of listening, writing is good but not when someone is saying something directed to you. You must learn, train yourself to listen first and then write, that way you help you.


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Tip #4

Don’t be afraid to seek advice, it is important to getting the work done. So you listened alright, you believe you had an understanding of what the work demanded but you are still struggling. It helps no one if you stay in your corner, beating yourself up, just sulking; get up and get help. Ask someone, ‘’So I was doing this but it seems I am stuck and I need help”, these simple words can help you more than you know. Next time you hit a wall in your work, don’t talk to the wall or sit there, retrace your steps and find someone to help you break through that wall of confusion.


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Final Tip

Lastly, train yourself to listen twice as much as you write. It is not easy, it is an art that can be learned but it begins with having a growth mindset and learning that, sticking to your guns won’t help much; it actually doesn’t. Listening is twice as hard because you have to be able to follow the train of thoughts of the person speaking and still be able to express those ideas in your own voice. Tell me how this isn’t hard? You are better off doing the hard thing first and then moving on to the less difficult things.

If this resonates with you, then save this content and share with others.


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I help businesses and brands tell their story through content writing and copywriting.


I learned the hard way to listen rather than write.

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