Listening to Each Other

March 22, 2023

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since high school (yup, I worked out to his vinyl exercise album, the chart of the moves pinned to my bedroom wall) I have admired his no-nonsense approach to fitness. In recent years, he has taken on the role of elder statesman, talking about kindness and taking care of each other, especially in these divisive times. I read his Pump Daily newsletter and this little article landed in my Inbox the other day:

“Last week, I was at dinner at a nice restaurant, and the waiter told us about his life. After he stepped away, someone in our party said, “Man, he can talk.”

I said, “Some people just need to be heard. We don’t know his situation at home. He might be alone, he might have someone there who never listens to him. It never hurts to listen.”

My friend immediately said I needed to put that advice into the newsletter, and I do listen, so here we are.

There’s an old saying, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” In this age of social media, it seems like we live in a world of mouths, so my challenge to you this week is to help someone else feel heard.

That might mean listening to your significant other, it might mean calling your mom or dad, it might mean listening to the challenges of a stranger.

I’ve benefited so much throughout my life by always listening to mentors and staying hungry to learn, and I think there’s a good chance you’ll learn something. But even if you don’t, you’ll have made someone else’s day a little better and given them the benefit of being heard, so it’s a win no matter what.”

I loved this piece because so many of us would rather be heard than hear others (myself included sometimes). But listening to each other, hearing what others think and feel makes us better friends, partners, spouses…okay, better humans.

So let’s try it. Instead of thinking about what you might say when they’re done speaking, empty your mind and open your heart in the next conversation you have with someone. You’ll find you learned something you didn’t know about the person you’re talking with; you’ll hear their heart; you’ll hear their needs and desires; you’ll understand them better and best of all, your heart fills by making another person feel “heard.”

Thanks, Arnold.