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- Mixed in with complaining about what is not working in their lives, people are also telling us what is powerful and strong and important to them. We’re just not practiced in listening for that. - July 16,, 2018

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July 16, 2018

Pony in the Poo

Mixed in with complaining about what is not working in their lives, people are also telling us what is powerful and strong and important to them. We’re just not practiced in listening for that.
~Hildy Gottlieb

Listening for What is Possible
People sure do love to talk about what’s not working in their lives. Whether it is the people in our own lives or the conversations we overhear in restaurants or staff meetings, listening to those conversations, we might think there is nothing good happening in the lives of everyone we know.

Imagine what could be possible if you could consistently see the potential underlying all that complaining!

That is the catalytic part of Catalytic Listening – learning to listen beyond all that talk about what people do not want, to notice the underlying sentiments of what they DO want. Noticing the values that matter to them rather than just the retelling of their drama.

At Creating the Future, we spent the first half of this year developing a series of free video classes, to introduce you to this and other aspects of Catalytic Thinking. Over the next few months we’ll be sharing those classes with you, with exercises to strengthen your ability to bring out the best in yourself and those around you. (If you want a sneak peek, start with this one – an Introduction to the 3 Core Practices that comprise Catalytic Thinking).

For now, here’s something you can try, to strengthen your ability to find possibility in a sea of negativity.

Try this:
As you listen to someone talking, try to identify what it is they really want. It could be a coworker, a spouse, your child – or someone on television (watching the news is a great place to practice listening to someone complain!).

Ask yourself:
I hear what BAD looks like for this person – all the things they do NOT want. What DO they want? What do you suppose GOOD would look like for them?

Note:
This is NOT an exercise in ASKING. This is an exercise in LISTENING.

The more you learn to listen beyond someone’s negativity, to listen for what they DO want – the more you will be listening for what is possible. That is why Catalytic Listening is the first step (and then an ongoing step) in the entire Catalytic Thinking framework.

Want to learn alongside other people who are also trying out Catalytic Thinking practices? Join our Catalytic Thinking in Action community on Facebook - a welcoming place where you can ask questions and learn from people like you who are experimenting with these practices. We look forward to seeing you there!

eJournal Archives:
If you’re new to our eJournal, or just want to remind yourself of past practice exercises we’ve shared, check out our eJournal archives here.

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