Being mindful in our everyday lives extends beyond self-directed habits. In fact, being mindful is about taking into consideration the people around us and positioning ourselves as contributors to society! That is why we need to engage in active listening in order to truly understand the viewpoints and troubles of others, so that we may be able to help those in need. So, what exactly does it mean to be actively listening?
1. Being attentive and open-minded
As the listener, it is important to go forth with a respectful and open mind that is free of judgment, especially towards opinions that you may not agree with. Let them speak continuously and not interrupt their train of thought, and provide physical cues such as nodding to let them know that you are engaged. This way, you can objectively evaluate the subject at hand, and try to give suitable advice if they ask for it.
This comes naturally when you are listening and concentrating on the other person — you may begin to weigh the situation and think about how you would approach the subject or problem. When doing so, it may be good to not only think about it from your own perspective, but also position yourself in the shoes of the other party. Some questions to start the reflection process off could be: What did I understand and what did I not? How would I approach this problem? What are the potential consequences?
3. Ask questions
It is also natural that we have questions, especially when we need further clarification. When asking questions, it may be good to provide open-ended ones, so that it leaves room for elaboration and details that are important!
In a world full of tangible solutions that can be easily found with a simple search on Google, what we need now more than ever is the sensitivity and approachability of a human listening ear. As minimalists, we can be the ones who embrace such mindfulness towards others in the same way that we do so for ourselves!
Co-Founder of The Joyful Investors and Manager of The Moneyball Portfolio. I graduated with a degree in Economics in National University of Singapore (NUS). My previous experience with traders at the Merrill Lynch enable me to realize many counter-intuitive truths about how the financial markets work and to uncover the challenges faced by many new investors. We believe that investing can be astoundingly simple and want to make financial education understandable for everyone.
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