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“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
In general we feel proud that ours is a generation which is very much socially connected. But on a second thought, are we really “connected”? Do we actually know each other? Most of us spend major part of our lives, chatting, but are we actually having any conversation? “Conversation”, to me has a much deeper meaning to it .In true sense of the term, most of us, I assume, fail to realize the true implication of having a proper conversation.
Our dear friend Google defines it as “a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged”. However, I believe that a conversation is not just an exchange of news and ideas, but also thoughts, expressions, opinions, gestures, etc. It is a means to form bonds with each other, to establish genuine connections. The ability to make a meaningful conversation is an art. Not many understand the true value of it. Most of us take shelter under the word to put our points across the table.
We often forget that a conversation is a two-way process. It involves the ability of listening, and not just hearing. The most cardinal facets of a conversation are the ability to accept, empathize and understand. We however, concentrate more on the ‘speaking’ and ‘convincing’ aspect of it. We most often shut our brains and open our mouths, as a result, we end up reacting rather than responding. Conversation today, has taken the shape of “you listen to me”, whereas it should be “let’s talk”. All we are doing is trying to prove our points just for the sake of it, often rejecting meaningful opinions of others. It has become more like a habit now, we do it without realizing.
On a lighter note, I would take this opportunity to present a quote I came across while researching for the topic: “God has given us two ears and one mouth, therefore we should listen more and talk less”. Recently, I got a wonderful opportunity to hear a speaker who made a very valid point in his speech when he said, “When you talk, you are saying what you already know. This way there is little scope for gaining knowledge. However when you listen, you are only adding to the knowledge you already have”. This has inspired me more than anything else, I hope it inspires you too.
I see youngsters asking each other “what’s up” and replying “nm, you say” (nm being nothing much). In my opinion, even such a boring attempt holds a great potential to start a genuine conversation, if made with sincerity. If you are reading in between the lines, you would know that by making this statement, I am trying to say that our “what’s up-nm” generation usually has no intention of either knowing or sharing what exactly is up. In this “what’s up-nm” the conversation what is hidden is “hey, I want you to know what’s up with me, so Mr. nm, you listen”. This again brings me to the question: Are we really “connected”? If yes is the answer, that comes to your mind, then dear friend, the word “connection” has different meanings for both of us. For me, a “connection” is not merely a link, it is rather a bond that one being makes with the other.
I would again take the privilege of my fundamental right of freedom of speech and call our generation an ignorant one. Having said that, I do not intend to deny the fact that ours is the most advanced and intelligent generation. However, I feel that in the process of advancement and competition, we have forgotten the basic human morals and values. Empathy, kindness, love and respect are some of those forgotten treasures. We have forgotten to care, and let aside the resources of earth, most of us don’t even care for the fellow earth-mates.
As a student of law, I completely understand that “life is a race and if you don’t run fast, you will be like a broken egg”. But, I also realise that even while running the race, the least one can do is to have a real conversation.
Assuming that I have conveyed what I had to and delivered justice to my topic, I would like to conclude by citing a very beautiful quote by Leo Buscaglia:
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”