Multi-tasking Ability Impacts Listening Ability

20by guest blogger Mikayla Phan

The human brain is complex and highly developed; we are equipped, in a very sophisticated way, with the ability to multi-task.  When I turn on my awareness to the kinds of things that I am able to pay attention to at any given time, I am almost shocked at how many things I actually was able to juggle.  Because of this ability, and now necessity in the fast-paced lives we have created for ourselves, we are multi-tasking and paying to attention to a myriad of things at one time—all the time.

On the one hand, this allows us to get more tasks done (answering an important call, signing an overdue document, calling the babysitter while driving to the bank), fulfill more needs for more people (cooking, finishing the laundry, and mediating the kids at the dinner table), and ultimately save time.  Most of the time, this works and we successfully lead busy and successful lives, full to the brim with lots of activities, work, and play.  On the other hand, this can be a grave problem when we examine the art of true listening, for intentional listening requires all of our senses.

The issue is not whether we can neuro-biologically use all our senses to listen to one thing, but rather becomes whether or not we can consciously stop multi-tasking with these senses as a force of habit and step outside of our comfort zone by shifting these senses on one task alone: listening to one person with our whole body.

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