“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” – Doug Larson
I was helping an artist who’d been a little stressed after a long string of shows. After our talk she asked how the book was coming along. I told her about the editing and rearranging and about potential additions. Also how glad I was to be surrounded by fellow creatives like her who gave me input and support.
She smiled and said she didn’t feel particularly creative at the moment. I smiled back and could’ve just taken it as a passing comment. I was eager to talk more about the writing process but it felt like there was something she wanted to talk about.
I asked her why she felt like that and she explained that it had taken a lot out of her to go through the same routine show after show for so long. There were more shows coming after a short break but she was secretly hoping that something else would come along. Something more creative.
Feeling that the discussion was going a little negative she quickly changed the topic. I went along with it since I didn’t want to pry. It seemed like she didn’t want to go deeper into the subject at the moment.
Replaying the situation later I knew what I had to do next time we met. I should ask her to be really specific about the other stuff she’d like to happen and maybe set up a meeting to talk about that issue. Otherwise we might end up treating the symptoms instead of the cause.
I remember hearing her speak a couple of years ago about her career, how she lit up at certain parts. Especially about the amazing collaborations and opportunities she’d gotten. She really does have a passion for music and creativity, but a lot of the times it leads her into pretty rigid forms of expression that pull in the reins a little too much.
I’m still glad I took the time to listen even though we both had other things to do at the moment. I hope we get a chance to hash it out real soon.
So, today’s lesson has been: “Shut up and listen!”.
Even if you feel like you’d rather talk about your stuff you might end up learning a lot more about the other person and yourself if you stop and take the time to listen.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway
“There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.” – Simon Sinek