“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” — Proverbs 18:2
By this standard, we are surrounded by fools. Fools on the television. Fools in the next cubicle. One or two at the breakfast table. If I had someone to talk to on my commute to work, there would be at least one fool in my car every morning … and it would be me.
When Stephen Covey wrote his seminal work on effective habits, he included one about seeking to understand then be understood. The principle itself is as old as the Bible.
A little self-examination may be in order.
- Am I more interested in telling people or listening to people?
- Do I speak first and listen later?
- Am I ever guilty of forming my response in my head while the other person is still speaking?
- Do I have a filter that keeps my tongue in check?
- Do I ever change my opinion when the facts are different from my opinion?
- Am I seeking to impress people or influence people?
How about you? Do you get a kick from spouting off? Do you like to hold court, even if no one is really listening?
In the end, no one wants to be a fool. We just end up that way.