Listen Before You Speak

jedidiah says listen before you speakI sat in on a political science class in college for a few sessions. I wanted to try something different. I was buried (quite happily) in literature, art history, and film, but figured I’d give something brand new a shot.

As it turned out, I hated it. So, I left pretty quickly. But the reasons why I hated it are worth mentioning.

I remember sitting in a room that looked like it popped right out of a movie. You know what I’m talking about–dim lighting, bookcases, dark wooden tables, the smell of old books. The room reminded me of Spanish poetry and I had to quickly remind myself that I was there to talk politics, not love.

I sat in the back that day, quietly observing the interaction of students of all kinds of ideological backgrounds. I heard lots of shouting, lots of insistence that he was right or she was wrong, lots of bold policy statements.

What I didn’t hear was the sound of anyone listening.

What hence happened was that policy arguments fell flat on their faces. Neither side took the time to hear the other, so neither side budged on anything. No one took the time to figure out where a disagreeing party was coming from or why they had come to the conclusion they had. Everyone was far more worried about getting their points in than convincing anyone new to see why their points had value.

To be honest, it was a profound waste of time.

As I talk to regular people every day who work outside the political sphere (almost none of my friends or acquaintances are terribly political), they increasingly can’t stand politics. They hate the finger-pointing, the shouting, the defiant attitudes that cause people to talk without listening.

I can’t really blame them.

So, I invite you to do something a little different. It’s not easy–opinions are heated, passions flare, and sometimes insults roll off the tongue. After all, we’re all human. But turning people off or making those who disagree with you less likely to see your angle helps no one. It solves nothing. And the energy it puts out into the world pretty much stinks.

So, here are some tips I’m keeping in mind as I move forward. I won’t always succeed, but I’m going to try like hell…

Listen before you speak.

Take the time to walk in someone else’s shoes.

Think about what someone else has said and why you have a better solution.

View every conversation as a chance to learn something and teach something.

Remember that we’re all still people.

Acknowledge that people may have a different idea of how to fix things, but many who disagree with you really care about the country too.

If you find common ground, enjoy the moment. Use it to further greater discussion.

And leave personal attacks at the door.

It’s entirely possible to be passionate about who you are and what you stand for without insulting someone or abandoning adulthood. I think it creates a better discussion, better debate, better solutions, and a better world.

Join me if you dare.

Jedediah Bila is co-host of “Outnumbered” on Fox News at 12pm ET. She is an author, columnist, and Fox News Contributor. Follow Jedediah on Twitter @JedediahBila.

Via Jedediah Bila at Breitbart News

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Dan Morris
7 years ago

I understand what you are saying as it is something I was taught at a young age, but more as a threat! “Remain silent and thought a fool or speak and remove all doubt”, but seriously, take the debacle concerning the follies in th NFL and all the faux outrage against the Commissioner and owners of the teams. And the screamers got their way for being extremely vocal and threatening, and so many jumped on the bandwagon. So who is paying the price for the fault of a single man? The players wife is also hurt financially, the season ticket holders too, let’s not forget the fantasy football bettors and even the cities the teams represent!
Justified? Hardley, but because we allowed a voice with a scream to railroad an industry, we all lost. Who was the voice of reason? They were drowned out, so whom do we persecute when an actor goes beyond our social values, the president of the screen actors guild? Do they fine and bench an actor for life? I think that there are times when we need to scream back.

Ed Mashmann
7 years ago

A wise man once told me “Questions are the answer”

7 years ago

I agree philosophically with everything you’ve written. Logically, though, it’s hard to remember that others “really care about the country too,” when they focus on a single initiative, such as amnesty, instead of the bigger impact such a cause has. While it’s admirable to try to save the world and rescue others less fortunate than we, doing so has a hefty price, both financially and ideologically. The financial burden is obvious, but rarely is it acknowledged that granting blanket amnesty does not require learning the (albeit, unofficial) language of the land (necessary to function and succeed) and history (necessary to have an appreciation for the sacrifices paid forward for the privileges this country provides).
Additionally, if your comment about almost none of your friends or acquaintances are terribly political is an accurate profile of others in your generation, the country faces even more trouble ahead. Regardless of the political unpleasantness, all citizens have a responsibility to this great country and preceding generations to be well-informed and express their values by evangelizing and voting. This is no time for complacency — or worse — leaving your future in someone else’s hands.

Kirk Barrett
7 years ago

Jedediah, besides being extraordinairly beautiful you are also extraordinairly smart and wise beyond your age. If more people thought like you the world would be a much better and more cordial place. Both liberals and conservatives can learn something from what you have to say.

John Higgins
7 years ago

Great and sound advice Jedediah!
Try to remember that when you are involved in your next debate with a ranting, raving Liberal who will not listen to you or even give you a chance to finish your sentences.

Diana Erbio
7 years ago

Great advice Jedediah. I think we will find we agree on a lot more then we think we do. Also just maybe we will find some solutions to serious problems instead of shouting over each other while the problems grow.

7 years ago

Three things I try to ask myself before I speak.
1-Does this need to be said?
2-Does this need to be said by me?
3-Does this need to be said by me now?

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