One of the most important areas I’ve focused my energy on is improving my understanding and capacity to COMMUNICATE.
Communication is essential to everything, but it isn’t as simple as it seems.
A concept in the space of your deep self lacks substance. It lacks language. It simple exists. This is the state of pure energy. Of pure being. This is where all things are born.
But we’re mortal, and we live within the framework of time. And so the mind developed to define the nature of this existence. This is the space where those concepts become thoughts and ideas. This is where the nature of humanity is born. From here, the communication is possible. Thoughts are expressed in language; spoken or written.
Seems simple right?
In a beautiful but sometimes frustrating display of the human potential, we have over six thousand spoken languages. Some are used by fewer than one thousand people. Others are global. But the ways in which we as a species communicate are vast. And within many of those there are dialects, colloquialisms, and intricacies. Between two speakers of the same language, the difference in meaning of a single word could be profound or subtle.
Thus, what we say isn’t always what is communicated.
Once spoken, the words must climb the ladder to the thoughts of the other person. And from there they must become ideas, and eventually to ethereal concepts. That’s a long. Road. And it’s easy to get lost. But this is the nature of human language. The interesting part is the process of sending the words over. Human minds are complicated. They connect too many dots in too few minutes and we aren’t even conscious of the process.
I call this the…
3 Gates of Communication
The first gate is “That which we want to hear”. This is the filter with which we translate the world around us into what we expect, desire, and perceive. Sometimes we make this translation out of apathy or ego. Most often we aren’t even aware we’re doing it.
The second gate is “That which we think we hear”. It’s a subtle difference, but a profound concept. Our mind, even when trying to connect to another individual, will make assumptions about what they’re trying to communicate based on what we think we know about them. It’s easier than actually listening, but not so distant as replacing their meaning with our own. We do this a lot.
The third gate is “That which is actually being communicated”. This is the realm of true communication. You see examples of it in techniques such as “Active Listening“, and in professions such as Coaching or Therapy. This is the gate through which the closest thing to true communication by language can be found.
So I challenge you: Notice the gates you’re using. Notice when ego, apathy, impatience, and self doubt keep you in the first two gates. And when our noticing becomes clear, boldly step into the third gate.
Bonus challenge: share this with a friend, and ask them to work with you as you practice. Gentle reminders to each other when the first and second gates are obvious. Vulnerable requests for the third gate when you have something to say that you really want to be heard.