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Always Listening

Whether it be the radio, or podcasts, or cable news, or your favorite album or show, there are countless ways you can keep yourself from experiencing silence in the course of day, if you so choose. Now, I know we’re all wired differently, and some people enjoy silence more than others. But regardless of your personality, there’s value in having at least some space in your life to sit with your own thoughts. It’s in these moments you can gain a little perspective; you can glean insights that you may otherwise miss; you can decide on the best path forward.

Yes, there may be lots of good—maybe even really good—things to listen to. And they can be valuable. But always being plugged in can also become addictive, distracting you from more valuable uses of your attention. For instance, you may listen to something that has potentially valuable information, but because you don’t take a moment to reflect on what you learned, or figure out how you’re going to use that information, or whether you should change anything in your life as a result, it fails to have any lasting impact.

Or when you encounter silence, you immediately, out of habit, begin looking for something else to listen to, even though there may be other things in life that could use your attention. Reflecting on the current state of your life, what you’re learning, and what kind of person you want to become, requires some space. It’s hard to think clearly about these kinds of things when you’re giving your attention to something else.

Which means, although I’m grateful for all the options that I have to keep myself occupied, I also know first hand how easy it is to allow them to squeeze out moments of silence for reflection. These moments need not be too frequent or too long, but I’ve found that having at least some moments of silence during a given day gives my heart and mind a chance to check and see what else may be going on in my life—things that I may fail to notice if I’m always listening to something else.

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