Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘challenge the idea

How to listen. Can you get the Joke

One guy in the back of the club isn’t laughing.

And the fabled comedian is killing it at a club that seats 400.

Miles Davis was shunned by a few people in the audience, even at his coolest.

And the message from the creator of the work is clear: “It’s not for you.”

The theater critic at the Times might not like this play, the one that made people cry and sold tickets for years.

And just about every blog post and book listing collects a trolling comment from someone who didn’t like it, didn’t read it or didn’t agree with it (or all three) and isn’t shy about speaking up with a sharp tongue.

Unanimity is impossible unless you are willing to be invisible.

We can be unanimous in our lack of feedback for the invisible one.

For everyone else, though, the ability to say, “It’s not for you,” is the foundation for creating something brave and important.

You can’t do your best work if you’re always trying to touch the untouchable, or entertain those that refuse to be entertained.

“It’s not for you.”

This is easy to say and incredibly difficult to do. You don’t have much choice, not if you want your work to matter.

How to listen

Live interaction still matters. Teachers, meetings, presentations, one on one brainstorms–they can lead to real change.

The listener has nearly as big a responsibility as the speaker does.

And yet, Google reports 4 times as many matches for “how to speak” as “how to listen.”

It’s not a passive act, not if you want to do it right.

If listening better leads to better speaking, then it becomes a competitive advantage.

Ask an entrepreneur leaving the office of a great VC like Fred Wilson. She’ll tell you that she gave the best pitch of her career–largely because of the audience.

The hardest step in better listening is the first one: do it on purpose.

Make the effort to actually be good at listening (it’s a matter of learning and it is hard to focus if the talker is Not telling you an interesting story).

Don’t worry so much about taking notes. Notes can be summarized in a memo (or a book) later.

Pay back the person who’s speaking with enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm shown by the expression on your face, in your posture, in your questions.

Play back what you hear but in your own words, using your own situation.

Don’t ask questions as much as make statements, building on what you just heard but making it your own.

Take what you heard and make it the foundation for what you are trying on as your next idea.

If you disagree, wait a few beats, let the thought finish, and then explain why.

Don’t challenge the speaker, challenge the idea.

The best way to honor someone who has said something smart and useful is to say something back that is smart and useful.

The other way to honor them is to go do something with what you learned.

Good listeners get what they deserve–better speakers.

(Sort of improving the speaker’s skills?)

A diet for your mind

It’s Groundhog Day: January is over, and diet book a la mode again.

It’s time to invest in something you can change: the way you think.

Here are a bunch of books, ebooks and recordings that can help with that: Diet books for the mind.

Controlling what you eat is an interesting challenge, but not nearly as important as controlling how you think.




August 2022

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