15 Indications A Goldfish Is More Attentive Than You Are.


Pic Credit: likesuccess

We retain just 25% of what we hear, says sound expert Julian Treasure. That was in 2011.

Recent statistics reveal that the average human attention is 8.25 seconds. A little less than that of a goldfish (9 seconds). At this rate our listening is poor. Unfortunately, it is getting worse.

The situation spans across all age groups and genders, according to IFL Science (quoting a study by Microsoft Corporation).

Poor attention =  poor retention = poor listening.

How much of your attention do I have with this post? How much of what you are reading will be retained? I wonder.

You can read about why we are losing our listening in an earlier post I wrote.

In this post I only highlight scenarios that indicate we are not listening well. Some of them may not be new information to you, but like Steve Covey said, common knowledge is not common practice.

Your are not listening well when you/ your:

  1. Interrupt another to make your point.
  2. Silence is not to listen to another but to prepare your response.
  3. Cannot do without fiddling with your phone in a meeting, church service or while having a conversation with your spouse/ child/ friend.
  4. When you use your earpiece, read a book or engage in anything that excludes others, while you are in their company.
  5. Drive, while using your earpiece, or with music so loud you can barely hear anything outside your car.
  6. Interest in things is only in relation to yourself.
  7. Prefer virtual interaction to physical interaction. Or when you have more friends on social media that you do physically. (I believe the former should complement the latter)
  8. Know nothing about your immediate neighbor/ employee or employer.. Or worse still, you do not know your neighbor.
  9. Know nothing about your child(ren)’s friend(s). Not even the name(s).
  10. Have to be reminded by your spouse/ child/ friends about things that are important to them.
  11. Interaction with colleagues does not go beyond the usual pleasantries and office chatter.
  12. Write people off without getting to know them first. (notwithstanding first impressions which tend to last longer).
  13. Are unable to enjoy or appreciate solitude.
  14. When you prefer to be a lone ranger most of the time. (This is not a contradiction of ’13’ above).
  15. Spend considerable time talking to God (making requests most of the time) and little or no time meditating to hear from Him.


“Every human being needs to listen consciously to live fully.”
– Julian Treasure

Be wise. Always make an effort to understand. Pay attention. Always choose to listen.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of the post. Thank you.

This list is not exhaustive. What will you add?

Are You Losing Your Listening?


“We are losing our listening.”

So says sound expert Julian Treasure in a 2011 TED talk. I agree. Absolutely!

Today most people are handicapped, when it comes to listening. We are unable to tune in to connect with other people and the world around us. As a result we are hard of hearing  hard of listening.

Our listening is impaired because we are accustomed to using our ears instead of our minds. Let me explain.

Hearing and Listening

Hearing is to the ears, listening is to the mind. We hear with our ears, and listen with our minds. To listen is to make an effort to understand what you hear. For instance, when I turn on the ignition of my car, on the basis of the sound of the engine running, I will drive off without knowing if the engine is sounding right or wrong. But listening to the sound can help me know when something is wrong.

Here’s another analogy I heard some years ago. When music is turned on, hearing tells you a song is playing, listening can tell you what the song is saying, the genre of the song, and who is singing.

Julian Treasure claims we are losing our listening because “we retain just 25% of what we hear.” This means information to and from us is hardly understood. It also means  we are unable to make meaning of all that is happening around us. Is it any wonder why our world is more chaotic than it has ever been?

You may say not everything we hear is worth listening to, but how do we figure out what to discard or keep without making an effort to understand first? We tune out too much for our own good.

“We tune out too much for our own good.”

Why Are We Losing our Listening?

I think it is because we have chosen to adopt individualistic and self-centered lifestyles. Advancement in communication technology has helped us to create solo soundscapes. Armed with a smartphone and an earpiece we can tune out everyone and everything around us.

I remember over three months ago, in July,  when the augmented reality game, Pokémon Go was released. Safety concerns were raised when players shared incidents of been robbed, mugged, stepping in front of oncoming vehicles etc. because they were out of touch with their environment while playing the game.

Also, when we listen, it is often only for our benefit. ‘What’s  in it for me’ (WIIFM) is the question we always ask ourselves, consciously or unconsciously. We tune out whatever is not to our benefit. It doesn’t matter to us if it will benefit others.

As a result we are limited to only what we know or experience, which is minuscule in comparison with the wealth of knowledge and experience we can glean from listening to others. We listen only for our benefit to our detriment. The self-delusion of self-sufficiency is killing us.

“We listen only for our benefit to our detriment.”

Listening is a choice

If we must make meaning of life and our experiences, we must choose to listen. Listening is intentional. Because it does not come naturally, you and I must make a conscious effort to understand people and events, in relation to us, to others, and our environment.

We must choose NOT to tune out people and situations around us. It is not easy, but it is possible. It is beneficial, so it is worthwhile.

I have heard it said before that we’ve got two ears and one mouth so that we can listen more and talk less. It makes sense.

The Bible tells us “My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak…” (James 1:19, Contemporary English version)

“Every human being needs to listen consciously to live fully.”
– Julian Treasure

Be wise. Always make an effort to understand. Always choose to listen.

Are we losing our listening? What do you think? Please share.