Learning to Listen + an Update

· 3 min read
Learning to Listen + an Update
Generated by Ideogram

The cover image for this post serves covers both topics for this post: an idea I've had for a new project I'd like to undertake as well as how I feel like my mind is spinning with so many different ideas for what to write about.

An Update

I've had lots of ideas about topics for my blog: free speech, the book of Job (in the Bible), the problem with social media, and learning to listen. I jot them down in Apple Notes as I go about my day (I wish I could say I wrote them in my journal, as that would be way cooler – and perhaps I shall do that from now on).

They're all interesting topics and I've got something to say on each of them, but it's been a challenge to write something that I'm happy with in 1 hour each morning – I tend to spend at least half of that time madly researching to widen my understanding of the topic at least a little – and then try to dump it all out onto the virtual page. It's fun, but I have a desire to dig into the topics in more depth.

So my new plan is to still spend that hour each day, but allow it to be split between researching and writing and I'll publish things once I think they're done. They still won't be thoroughly researched or contain my final thoughts on a topic, I'm not trying to write a book here, I'm trying to explore ideas and generate interesting conversations.

I think about two kinds of reading:

  1. Reading something from start to finish, getting a picture of what the author has to say – this won't always pay off immediately, but will help enrich my understanding and will help to feed my mind, it's incredibly valuable.
  2. Reading something based on a search, getting a little glimpse into snippets of content that are directly relevant to a particular topic or point I'm trying to research – there's a risk in this that you'll misunderstand or misquote someone, but you can usually get some pretty good stuff pretty quickly.

In the mornings at the moment, I tend to feel more drawn to the second kind. I've got a topic that I want to write about and I enjoy reading targeted little snippets of what others have to say on the topic. I still haven't found a great tool to actually do this research, though – something that can run semantic searches across a huge library of PDFs and EPUBs. That remains an ongoing search. The closest I've found to that is the PDF Search app, but it has some significant drawbacks (I've emailed the creator of the app and maybe one day they'll be resolved).

Learning to Listen

This morning, learning to listen well is the topic on my mind. I came across this quote yesterday afternoon:

The Communication Book (Krogerus & Tschäppeler, 2018)

I am so passionate about being a good listener, but it seems I'm naturally pretty rubbish at it. When I read this quote, I thought, if only I could remember this advice when I was listening to someone, I'd be so much more like the person I want to be. And then I started to think, well, this advice isn't always useful, so I wanted to dig in and find out what else I could learn that would be so immediately and practically applicable.

That's all I have time for today, I'll keep digging into the art of listening well and posting my discoveries here.