on the sound of silence

Imagine you are invited to a dinner party and somebody asks: What do you do? To which you timidly answer that you work in education. These exchanges are usually cut quite short. If you cordially ask them about their education, on the other hand, they pin you to the wall and won’t stop telling you. Everybody has a story to tell,  especially about what and where one has studied. Listening to the multitude of these stories seems not to be for everyone. 

Now Imagine, what if listening to somebody’s story would become a story itself ?


The gift of the gab

Our educational system glorifies the conversion of students from showgoers to entertainers. In primary- or highschool, as well as in university, being outgoing, sociable and talkative is pretty much always a compliment.  Per contra being introverted, shy and solitary do not rank as the 3 most important character traits to put on a CV. 
We seem to forget that thoughts and reflections are often made in solitude and based on introspection. Education is also learning how to think and how to find the time to think. Nonetheless personal branding is today’s groundwork of a possible insertion into the workforce for students. While we live our days as experiences, our daily life has to be a story worth telling.

We are not just human beings anymore, but also part-time brands. Just like Apple or Coca Cola we position ourselves, trying hard to captivate our audiences. If we are all so busy telling stories, when are we actually taking the time to listen to all these amazing part-biographies?


When listening becomes the story

I like podcasts, especially the ones where space and time are abundant. I listen attentively and share them with my friends. The fact that listening to other people’s stories somehow becomes the story I tell myself is intriguing, in a digital format,  as in the real world.
I started to take the time to really listen and understand. I wanted to exchange with inspiring individuals and try to grasp their knowledge and expertise, in order to be able to tell something new, my own podcast.

also read  Never combat intelligence

Educational stories that make us grow are a result of an eclectic mishmash of knowledge and experiences of others with our own. Listening to challenging thoughts, while getting to know the people having them, makes us learn.
Yet what really counts is not the fact that one tells a story, but that people like you do listen or read it, whenever and wherever you want. You take on the role of the receiver, the person that carries the real weight of the conversation. 


We sometimes are the exception, becoming story-listeners who appreciate the value of silence.

This article is based on our newsletter “thoughts&coffee” published on 12.11.2021  

read here