Monthly Archives: August 2013

Listening: as a Doorway to Creativity and a Source of Power

Extraordinary Listening is an attitude, an extraordinary, intentional, spirit of willingness to perceive and consider the whole of incoming data, and to evaluate it impartially and intelligently. For our study, let’s differentiate that from paying attention so you can argue against, or only recognizing data you already value.

As we break it down, there seems a two step process of receiving input and making meaning out of it. In reality, the meaning we make filters the content we choose to pay attention to, so they act interdependently, each affecting the other.

Where is our attention? We pay attention to the data, the content, what we are listening to, maybe. How often do we pay attention to the process, how we are listening, both what we pay attention to and the spirit of our meaning making. And though that process of attention can be quite sophisticated, believe it or not, the simple shift of noticing the distinction of content and meaning making, causes extraordinary change. This knowledge, understanding that listening includes the making meaning that goes on within us AND that it is mutable, has more power to affect your life than you might imagine. So much, it’s hard to believe.

An example of ‘how’ we make meaning might be: Did you ever watch someone else describe a seemingly neutral action by another to support their position about that person? Either how wonderful it was, if they like the person, or how stupid or terrible it was, if they dislike them. [Have you ever not seen yourself do this?]

I’ve been using the term ‘romantic notions’ to describe these tendencies to color things according to our known perception. These ‘romantic notions’ in turn color our perception of the world and therefore our strategies and actions in it.

What do we lose when our listening is poor, biased, distracted or pre-judged? How creative is our solution likely to be, when our attention is un-focused or attending to only a narrow band, rather than the full spectrum of perception? And while total awareness or perfect success may or may not be your goal, the question really is, would you rather move your awareness toward a broader, more complete perception or a narrower one? Which attitude toward awareness would you elect to develop to solve critical problems in your life?

That is, if you could choose to do so consciously, which most people cannot because they do not make this simple distinction. They can’t see the way they assemble meaning and so are bound to repeat the known.

There were those people at the turn of the 20th century whose reaction to progress could be summed up by the reaction to the airplane. “If man had been meant to fly, he would have been born with wings.” Women were not even considered in the equation. Neither were the non-Caucasian races seen to be important in the unfolding of Anglo- European history. We will never know what opportunities we lost.

As a species we have reached a different tone of listening and inclusion. When we include, it adds to our knowledge base which increases our wealth. Diversity, acceptance and inclusion will be the watchwords of the new millennium. And harmony co-operation and creative collective intelligence will be at the fore front, if we are to develop a sustainable system.

As we enter the 21st century the quality, quantity and speed of change will only increase. Success will be determined not by what you know, but rather by how fast you learn. Resistance will not help. Aikido, the art of harmonizing with change, what i call extraordinary listening, will.

To negotiate the New World will require an extraordinary listening.

“Intelligence is not what you know how to do but rather what you do when you don’t know what to do!”

Albert Einstein  (1879-1955)

The Success of Listening

Happiness and success are all about how you listen,

how you make meaning!


How many studies have we seen that show that a person’s success and happiness do not depend on their experience? People from wealthy homes, educated people, people who come from good circumstances, often become failures or criminals. Conversely, people who come from broken homes, impoverished backgrounds, people without education, end up incredibly successful and contributing extraordinarily to the world.


Repeatedly we find, that primary in what makes a difference is the way that people make meaning out of their experiences. That process is both learned and developed though usually unconsciously. Extraordinary listening emphasizes attending to how we make meaning. Learning how to influence the meaning we make, allows us to engage in the world creatively.


Listening to, consciously noticing how we are assembling thought and meaning, distills clarity. Our clarity is reflected in the clarity of our language. When we ‘can’t find the words’ usually the language difficulty comes from a lack of clarity in our own thinking.

The problem is less our seeming inability to find the precise words than………

we don’t actually know what we mean precisely enough. We aren’t listening as well as we might.


Listening extraordinarily would imply loving thy neighbor’s communication as thy own, equally paying attention to another’s input as to our own internal valuing. When we are listening to our process of assembling meaning, it’s a small step to beginning to help our conversation partners to be more conscious of theirs. That knowledge enables us to move from habituated disagreement and defensiveness, to seeking understanding. It opens the possibility of collective intelligence, where our differences produce greater knowledge, where two heads really are better than one.


The way Chris Thorsen, a longtime business partner, phrases it, “Listen to your listening!”


Learning to pay attention in an extraordinary way empowers you to create meaning that empowers success and allows you to ‘accomplish your bestowed mission’.



Intro to Extraordinary Listening


Extraordinary Listening


In the modern world, success will not be determined by what we know,


                                                                         by how quickly we learn.


Do you want to increase your power, your ability?

Do you want to learn the most important thing?



Paying attention, what I call listening, is the basis of learning, of developing an accurate perception of any situation. All our knowledge, any possibility of communication and understanding, pivots on our ability to listen, the attitude of openly and intentionally receiving and affecting incoming information. Perceiving our listening, as a mutable aspect of how any situation unfolds, has a most powerful influence on how we create our world.


Listening means opening ourselves to input or stimulus. I use the term ‘extraordinary listening’ to imply listening as well to our own process of turning data into meaning. It describes the spirit or attitude in which we open ourselves to being affected, to processing as completely, as openly,  as meaningfully as possible, any and all incoming stimulus, data or input.


Because the process of our listening and how we assemble the data into meaning is so unattended, it’s equally important to listen to the internal process, of our own meaning and the way that we are being affected by the meaning that we’re making, as to the external stimulus.


Our approach to listening, usually developed and patterned early in life, implies the majority of us rarely if ever assess the spirit of our listening, so we see little need for improving our skills.                                                                                                  [Let’s assume most people assume they are good at listening]


“Proper listening is the foundation of proper living.




Extraordinary Listening doesn’t just happen. Listening develops out of the spirit of wanting to listen. It is an intention, an attitude, a way of being. It is a developed and developable skill.


‘Extraordinary listening’ implies listening to what we want, to who we are and what impels us, at a deeper level. Doing so empowers choosing to create meaning that creates a world you would like to create. The quality of our listening could transform the creation of our social systems, economics, business, education, art and science and the world that ensues.


We could create a beautiful world. That’s the power that listening can bring.

                       R. Moon,  Founder