It seems to me that a lot of things could be made a whole lot better if people would just listen. The thing is... Listening is hard. Like really, really hard. It takes discipline. It takes being willing to admit that other people in the world actually have opinions, knowledge, and even real existence. (Because, believe it or not, most of us don’t really know if other’s really exist, or are just figments of our imagination... Are you really here, reading this, if I’m not thinking of you?) So what is listening, and why is it so hard? Hearing is easy; sound waves bounce against your eardrums and you perceive sounds. That’s hearing. Listening is more; it’s taking the sounds, and assigning actual meaning to them. And most people only do this halfway. They “listen” to answer. They “listen” to reinforce what they already believe or think. And that causes problems... Ever listen to people arguing, and suddenly realize that they’re actually both saying the same thing -- but they’re so locked into getting their say in that neither is aware of it? How many problems does that cause -- where there’s not really a problem. We can parrot the steps of Active Listening, even coach other people in it... but it doesn’t matter if we aren’t really listening to what they’re saying, and just using Active Listening as a tactic. We have to be quiet, and listen. Not try to figure out how to respond or how what they’re saying fits into whatever narrative we have running. Actually LISTEN to find out what they’re saying. Doing this is incredibly hard for most people. (Do it right, consistently, and it’s a superpower... but that’s another thing.) If you’re not sure you got it... tell them what you think they said, and then let them correct you. That’s even harder, it takes not only admitting you might have been wrong, but letting someone else tell you that you were wrong. Then lather, rinse, repeat... until you’re both sure that the actual message was received. I think, if we all could make as little as a 10% effort to do this, we would greatly improve the world. Because we’d start to find out that the other person really is real... and we’d even maybe get past primed narratives pumped at us in so many loud and insistent channels, and get to place where people are actually communicating... And how can that not make things better?