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The Quiet Learner
“Does anyone else have anything more to add?” asked Professor Kaufmann to his English 305 class: a class that was designed to be reading and writing intensive, and prompted a lot of classroom discussions. Hands shot up all around the room like wildfire, most of them eager to grab and snatch at any kind of participation points they could get, and some excited to showcase their more superior opinions than the rest. Mine, however, stayed right where it was, which was safe by my side. Rarely did my hand ever make that lonesome journey from my side to the airspace above my head. It wasn’t because I was afraid of talking in front of a group of people, but rather because I learned more from observing than talking.
I tend not to speak much in my classes because I have found the glory in what you can gain by just sitting there and listening. It takes a lot for me to contribute. I want my words to mean something, and add more than a supporting comment to someone else’s point. The beauty of speaking and communicating is the ability to add a unique idea or viewpoint to something. An original thought that has not been recycled throughout a class of participation hungry students. So when I do not have a new and authentic idea to contribute to the class, I like to listen to what others have to offer. Sometimes you have to wait awhile to sift through some of the recycled and reiterated ideas. However, when someone finally has something new and noteworthy to say, it is like finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It is priceless knowledge and thoughts, and they cannot be traded for any kind of currency.
I mean, how many times have you been told to listen more and speak less? I was always taught there’s no better way to get to know someone other than to listen to what they have to say. People are hubs for knowledge and experience, and I bet most of them are willing to share that with you if you’re able to keep your mouth closed for more than a minute or two at a time. Too many people get caught up in always having the need to express themselves. They are constantly letting the world know how they are feeling or what they are thinking, like their never-ending status updates on your Twitter or Facebook timeline that you can’t stand. People speak so often and so quickly they hardly allow the other person to respond or add anything in return. The world does not revolve around us and what we are feeling or thinking. There is so much more out there and so many people with different thoughts and ideas. Maybe if we were just still for a second and quiet enough, we might learn something we never would have known before.
We have all been graciously blessed with the gift of talking. It is the extraordinary ability to express ourselves through words and language. However, the key to this beautiful gift is knowing how to use it. Many of us fall victim to overusing our words, and we begin to forget the importance of listening. Truly being able to listen is being able to see things through multiple perspectives. It is looking beyond your own world, and letting yourself learn from others. I understand the importance of both speaking and listening, and I respect the balance they require of each other.
#Real #Essay #TheQuietLearner #Introverts
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