What can you give away extravagantly, and still keep lots of for yourself?!
Attention. The beautiful, powerful gift of your attention. As we’ve discovered often over the year, giving our attention deliberately to nature, to music, to beauty of any kind is so sustaining and healing. Giving Attention means being wholly present to whatever it is we are with. Including when we are with others as listeners, as thinking partners.
Listening is at the heart of Attention to others.
Listening without interruption, listening without agenda, listening to understand and inspire new thinking, listening with fascination to where the other person might go next in their thinking – that’s the kind of listening that lies at the heart of Attention.
I’m describing listening in a Thinking Environment – no surprises there. What is surprising, and occasionally a bit daunting, is just how little the world we live in recognises, values or practices this level of listening.
If children were taught to listen like this at school, if their parents and their teachers modelled listening like this for them, what might happen for them and for the world?
If employers committed to listening to inspire as part of CPD, and employees were encouraged and rewarded for their commitment to that, what might happen inside our organisations and businesses, inside the structures of capitalism itself?
So much that is transformational.
And it can begin so simply. Just by listening more. By being fully present to the thoughts of the other person without seeking to direct or change them, we are listening to inspire new thinking, change and possibility. We are giving the gift of Attention.
A gift that is free and ecologically sound; one that leaves no debris, one that might be unforgettable for the lucky recipient. Wouldn’t it be amazing if these two words, and all that they imply, became a theme for 2022?
I’m going to listen more during 2022.
And discover even more about the power of listening. I hope you’ll join me.