This I Believe

James - Auburn, California
Entered on September 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

In my personal belief, to have a philosophy about life at age seventeen would be unrealistic, because I haven’t actually started my life yet. Sure I’ve gone to school everyday, have hung out with my friends, been extremely bored at times, but the majority of my life won’t consist of just these things. They’re only what I’ve done so far. I personally believe the majority of my life will consist of learning; learning more about my line of work, learning more and more about kids, parenting, financial things, and list goes on. So seeing as how I know that I have to learn, I know I must do the one thing that coincides with learning. Taking all of that into consideration, as of right now I believe in listening.

Around three years ago, a very important question was posed to me. This person asked me if I knew and actually understood the difference between hearing and listening. Of course my first reaction was someone was trying to pull my leg, so I just told them they were the same thing. They looked at me and said “No really, think about that, look up definitions if you have to and then see what you come up with.” For a little while I didn’t really take it seriously, but it was definitely a thought that lingered in the back of my mind. Soon after, I found myself thinking about what they really wanted me to understand, because I remembered it being a serious conversation. I then came up with a definition of both, and contrasted the two. To me, hearing is being aware of what people are saying, and different sounds that are going on around me. Listening, however, is actually taking in that information and processing it- basically just completely understand what was said. I found later that when I had conversations, I was only hearing most of what was being said, and that doesn’t promote knowledge, which is what we are all out for in life, right?

After I began to put this into effect I was beginning to understand things a lot quicker. Not only that, but by sitting down and actually listening to someone’s opinion on any subject gives you knowledge as well as fulfills their needs. Everyone at many points in their life needs someone who will actually listen to what they have to say. Someone who will then be able to understand it, and have an input worth saying, whether it’s needed or not, it helps you keep an open mind to things, which in turn helps you to understand these things a lot better than you did before. It’s just one of those useful little tools in life that everyone should understand, and apply at all times.