Listen.

We live in a fast-paced world, plain and simple. With our smartphones and the internet, we currently have instant access to and are being constantly bombarded by new information at every moment of the day. Whether it’s the news, our Facebook feed, our Instagram, or whatever media we’re paying attention to, it seems like we’re always ‘in’ on what’s happening in the world. We hear a lot of great advice, we get bombarded with a ton of life lessons, and we take in loads of new information every single day. But even though we’re consuming all of this information, I have to ask, are we really listening?

This past week, I was scrolling on Instagram and came across a picture of the following quote:

“The tiny seed knew that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered in darkness, and had to struggle to reach the light.”

Shouldn’t this be common knowledge? Shouldn’t it be evident that life is hard? Shouldn’t people know to keep a positive attitude? Well, unfortunately, yes and no. In today’s fast-paced world, people hear this stuff all the time. They see it on social media, they listen to it from their friends, or they consume it in some other type of way. So they should know. But the sad thing is, because of this overload of information, many people find that they don’t know, because they never actually take the time to listen.

Unfortunately, when you hear cliches and quotes over and over, they start to lose their value. They begin to get watered down, you begin to get used to them, and over time you completely forget what they’re really about. Just as an example, take a second and think about the phrase ‘don’t cry over spilled milk.’ If you were to hear this or read this in passing, I’m going to assume that you wouldn’t pay it any thought — you’ve probably heard it a million times before, so there’s no use taking more than a few milliseconds to even think about it. But the fact of the matter is, this is such a powerful phrase that we can learn a lot from. Yet it’s still something that a lot of people seem to forget.

When it comes down to it, the things that we hear the most are often the truest, the things we are surrounded by are usually there for a reason, and the things that can potentially teach us the most are most often diluted to mean nothing. It’s unfortunate that as humans we are designed to drown out and devalue what we become used to — but it’s really just the way we are. But once we realize that this is how we are programmed, it becomes possible for us to make a conscious effort to take the time to actually listen. And when I say look, I’m not just talking about hearing or seeing. I’m talking about consuming, thinking, and analyzing.

“The secrets to life are hidden behind the word cliche.”

The next time someone says something as simple as ‘work hard,’ or ‘consistency matters,’ or ‘focus on the good,’ make sure you take the time to actually listen to what they’re saying.

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