Here’s the big problem, we have a tendency to listen with no intent. When we listen we typically intend to learn, but we don’t typically want to learn.

Let me explain. When we have conversations, we typically listen to what the other person is saying, but as we listen we have a tendency to get distracted. Whether it be by what is going on around us or what is going on in our own heads, we typically don’t fully listen to what others are saying.

There can be several different things that will be distracting you when you are more focused on what is going on in your head than what is going on in the conversation. When someone is tell us something we might become more focused on how we want to respond. We can also become distracted by our own mind if we are not interested in what is being said. Settings and location can also cause distractions.

The issue here is that even though we don’t always intend to become distracted during a conversation, when we listen without intent we end up missing out on the actual message. If you don’t focus on what you are doing at any given time it will inevitably turn out a little worse than it could have if you had put all your energy into it. Same thing can be said of a conversation. If you are at practice and you don’t listen to your coach you will inevitably miss out on what you are supposed to do or what you are supposed to learn or how to do it. If you don’t listen to your teacher at school you will fail to learn the material.

When you show up without actually showing up you are doing a disservice to yourself and those around you. It is very easy to be present, it is not always easy to stay focused. The more distracted you become at any given event the less you will take away from it. When you don’t listen with intent to learn you won’t learn.

When you show up and listen with intent you will soak everything in, learn and grow. Focus on what is going on. Look the person you are talking to in the eyes. Focus on the words and the message and not the response. The more you are able to engage in the conversation the more you will take out of it.

It is easy to show up. It is easy to listen to someone. But actually being present and actually listening to the message and meaning of what someone has to say make a world of difference.