making sense of the world around us
Sheryl Andrews
Sheryl Andrews

The Listening Detective

Making sense of the world around us

We each utilise our five senses to understand the world around us, and we usually have a dominant sense. We each also recall memories using our senses in our own unique way. You will most likely know of people that can tell you the name of a song the minute they hear one note and others that can recall images, yet some of us can’t.

When we are going through change, we often have to ‘learn’ new ways of being and recall information from the past. Knowing how we learn at our best can help us make sense of what we need, and it can clarify why sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is not.

Think about how you like to learn new information. Do you prefer to read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a video or do something practical?

One of the Do, Delegate or Ditch Foundation Course modules is ‘Learning at your best’ – we spend a week being curious about what is happening and what works and what doesn’t.

‘When you are learning at your best, learning is like what?’ This is one of the questions we explore. We also do a five senses exercise to be curious about our similarities and differences.

If I ask you to see an elephant, what happens?

Can you automatically see one? Some people can, and some people can’t.

If I said, hear music, what happens? Are you the type of person to get a piece of music stuck in your head? Have you ever been listening to someone, and it felt like there were so many words coming at you that you could not make sense of them all? Perhaps someone was showing you something, and you have felt agitated because you wanted to be able to hold the ‘thing.’

Being curious about how you learn at your best and your five senses can help you make sense of why you become overwhelmed and frustrated.

When you listen and pay attention to this kind of information, you can become aware of your own patterns and your dominant sense. Be it sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch. You can also develop strategies for when you can’t have what works best for you.

Knowing this information means you can set yourself up for success by consuming information in a format that works best for you. And when you cannot have what works best for you, you will be more informed and able to develop strategies and or ask for what you need.

Either way this awareness does alleviate stress by making sense of why you feel the way you do.

All of this gives you choice.

We are all different in this regard; some people forget this and can at times feel awkward if they don’t process information, answer a question or understand instruction in the same way as their peers. I have heard people worry that they are not answering the questions correctly or quickly enough when, in reality, the way they process information is often just slower, and they need more time. Invariably, if they sleep on it, I will get an email when the answer pops into their head the next day.

In the age of information, it is great that we can consume information in a way that works for us, be it audio, video, or in writing, but when it comes to our relationships, we might prefer to deliver it in a different way to how the other person prefers to receive it.

Assuming the purpose is to get heard and understood, it makes sense to ask questions to know what works and what doesn’t. It is easy to assume or even wish that everyone experience the world the same way we do, and yet we know we are all unique in this way.

When you know what you need, you can ask for it, and you can have more compassion and patience for other when they need information in a particularly way.

Being curious about such things means you can reduce the risk of misunderstandings and conflict.

Being curious about how you use your senses is an essential first step to understanding yourself better. With that understanding comes the ability to take back control of the information you consume and improve how you learn and make decisions.

If you have found this article useful, we would appreciate a like and a share.

If you would like to learn more about the Do, Delegate or Ditch Academy, where we explore what you need to work, learn, and live at your best, please get in touch.

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About The Author

Sheryl Andrews (aka The Listening Detective)

Founder of Step by Step Listening, Sheryl Andrews has always been keen to create space where other people felt safe to speak their truth no matter what that was. She is well known for her ability to motivate, manage and mentor others through change and loves nothing more than helping others feel heard and understood. She soon discovered there were 8 different kinds of listening and often people started talking without knowing which they needed. At Step by Step Listening they create space to explore what kind of listening works to ensure individuals are resourced to work, learn and live at their best with others and on their own. .

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