Column: Listening is key in creating productive discussion

Posted on Jun 29 2017 - 8:02am by Jonathan Lovelady

We live in a world where communication seems so close, yet, feels distant in regard to conversing with others. The act of listening is a part of the human experience, but sometimes it seems to not be in full force when interactions occur.

For far too long there has been consistent talking back and forth on a variety of issues but no actual action on this campus. We must come together and understand what we want without always turning things into a verbal fight.

We all have our opinions, ideologies, and experiences yet, time after the time, discussions tend to turn into arguments. Why is this taking place? Because everyone thinks their opinions, personal philosophies, ideas and experiences are more important than the person they are speaking with.

While at times fighting for your ideals is necessary, at this point in time it’s not. We are at a turning point in society where illusions are taken as reality and speaking the truth is attacked. So will you be a placebo or an actual dose to people in your life?

Many people would consider their beliefs to be set in stone, but that just isn’t true.

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson didn’t want to give his support for the Voting Rights Bill of 1965 at first until he consulted further with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his associates on why the bill was important for the United States. Changing your beliefs isn’t compromising but it’s the act of getting closer to what you believe is the truth, and even if you disagree with something, there will always be something that you could agree on.

Too many times people ignore or misread a situation by making preconceived notions about something. This leads to closed-mindedness. Repeatedly, this ends personal relationships, professional connections and even causes a rift in organizations regardless of the initiative.

Talking past each other, as I like to call it, has eclipsed our society in the dark like the generations before us. Discussions turn into brutal arguments where at a time people ignore all the topics that affect our reality to keep relationships intact.

Silence is dangerous though as nothing gets done and the problems we face, rather some groups deal with it more than others, get worse. Going around and assuming about someone or something doesn’t do anything but hurt yourself more than it would for that person or group.

Now I acknowledge that many do not agree with this act of “listening.” I respect that. But I came to that conclusion by listening to them!

Go out and try to listen for once. It will be hard, but rewarding.

When you see how productive discussions go, it may change your perspective or thoughts on a lot of things. We can better focus on issues in our communities that we can actually fix. 

Jonathan Lovelady is a sophomore business major from Los Angeles, CA.