5 Years Later, Is Communication Still "Everything"?
Reopening a cold case
Years back, I wrote about words and their importance. Since then, the world has changed drastically, and it's only fair that I reassess my bold claim.
First of all, my writing style and mentality have changed a bit in those five years. I don’t see things through the same lens, and that’s also something worth revisiting.
Secondly: I left out an important factor last time that's becoming more critical as days progress, especially in the state of the world we currently live in.
For those of you unfamiliar with the article, I’ll briefly summarize:
Words hold unparalleled power. Just like the tools we develop to achieve a singular purpose, words are also given purpose in millions of different ways. They have the potential to create an outcome as beautiful and delicate as a flourishing flower, or as deadly and chaotic as detonating an atomic bomb.
Simple concept, but times are difficult; and people are more so than ever.
So does this claim still hold true or have we reached the other end of the spectrum? Is it time to pause for a little bit, for like a century or so?
That might just be the case.
Communication Isn't Limited to Speaking
Conflict and disease aren’t new to us inhabitants of planet Earth. It’s almost as if we’re meant to destroy each other in every way possible after we get bored of living peacefully for too long. All joking aside, words have played an enormous role in how we handled our current crises.
Unless you lived under a rock or identify as one, you know that this pandemic has tested how people express themselves. Also, gun violence, abortion laws, and more politics caused a lot of us to speak out, and rightfully so. There was so much new information coming out that people wasted no time in wanting to share everything with everyone.
There was one problem: people were too busy talking and not busy enough listening.
This obviously creates a huge issue because no matter how valuable or beneficial the information actually was, no one wanted to hear it. They spent all their time trying to disprove each other that they failed to acknowledge the points that they agreed on.
Such is the curse of current human relationships and the search for individual truths instead of collective truth. Taking it one step further, individual truth is supremely important, but what if it begins becoming more of a burden and less of a benefit?
Let's imagine you have a drug problem, and people are constantly telling you to seek help. Are you going to continue "following your heart" down that path? Or don't you think it's worth looking at things a bit more selflessly knowing that what you're doing is harmful?
Granted, it’s important to correct others if they’re making fatal mistakes.
But are they really listening? And if they aren’t, then when should we stop talking?
Leading a Horse to Water
This is exactly what I failed to mention when I wrote about communication 5 years ago.
It’s great that one takes the necessary steps to express their ideas vibrantly and concisely. Be clear in your intent and compassionate with your delivery. Be as helpful as you can in any way you can with what you have.
However, listening is just as important if not more. If people refuse to listen, then why are we talking?
Why is it so hard to be quiet for a moment and let people share something that might just change our lives for the better?
What if there’s even a slight possibility that the person you’re listening to might know something you don’t and could benefit you?
This is the other end of communication that most people don’t care to sharpen. I’ve brainstormed for eons trying to figure out the reason why, and it a ll comes down to fear and mistrust. Read more about winning that battle below.
Believe me, I get it. There are too many people out there looking to harm others and take advantage of them. What happened to communicating things that serve us rather than inconvenience us or otherwise hurt us?
Personally, I don't wake up with the thought of inventing new ways of screwing people over. It's a damn shame that people like that exist. (I'll deal with you later.)
Maybe that's why I'm so adamant about being a better neighbor and a world-class being when I speak AND when I listen. We need less trouble in our lives, wouldn't you agree?
People say the truth hurts, but that’s taken out of context too often. Truth, r egardless of whether it is individual or collective, shouldn’t hurt those who are open to it. The truth only hurts a weakened ego, and the ego is something that must die in all of us.
Unfortunately, the ego doesn’t just die on its own. You have to murder it in cold blood and never look back at its grave.
How do you kill it? I have a complete tutorial coming up on that. Stay tuned.
5 years ago, I made a mistake by not being more clear about the role that listening plays in communication as a whole. Since then, I’ve tried my hardest to come up with the best way to describe how communication plays an important role in everyday life.
For me, it really comes down to this:
As people of exemplary character, we must do everything we can to express ourselves in the best manner possible. Likewise, we must do everything we can to understand others in multiple ways. This means being patient enough to listen, being grateful for what you could be learning, and being courageous enough to admit you might just be incorrect.
When we fail to do this, we get the version of chaos that’s fruitless. The kind that doesn’t help you improve but instead eats away at your being as rust does to metal.
It’s an unnecessary type of conflict that could be easily solved by donating a few more moments to listening rather than making a point.
So, in short, communication IS still everything. Whether it's 5 years or 500 years from now. I’ve learned that listening is twice as important as speaking, and practicing that daily has proven to be helpful for me.
Consider listening to others a little more often. Form better questions to understand. If it helps you, then wonderful.
Your tongue is fire and when you change what you say, you change what you see.
The choice is ours. I've made mine.
About the Creator
The Rogue Scribe
Writer. Narrator. Author of 'The Art of Patience, Gratitude & Courage'.
I share fresh, fantastical, and sobering stories that either celebrate or challenge this wild world. Go rogue with me, and subscribe to support my wordsmithing.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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