To get better and spend more time in the Mindset of Discovery, we must practice the behaviors that lead us there.

John Sweeney, co-author of The Innovative Mindset and owner of the Brave New Workshop comedy theatre, gives six suggestions for practicing the art of “Listening.”

This Big 5 behavior means the act of actively listening to someones thoughts, opinions, personal narrative – whatever it is they are trying to share. It is the most simple of our Big 5 behaviors to describe, but can be one of the hardest to actually accomplish!

Here are John’s suggestions for things you can do today, to practice this life changing skill:

1. On your commute

Listen to a talk radio station with political beliefs on the other side of the aisle from you – try to listen for 10 minutes, and write down 3 things that were of value to you or that you did not know before.

2. Movie Night

Watch a foreign film without the subtitles – see if you can listen and understand what is going on without the translation. Look at body language and listen for tone to figure out what the characters are saying.

3. Put on your jersey

Listen to some radio or watch a show about a sports team or franchise that you do not like. See if there’s anything in there that gets you excited about the sport or that you can agree with.

4. With family

Listen to kids – know that they are going to ramble and question, and notice how impatient you get. Can you increase your patience and listen to the entire story or tirade that the child is sharing with you?

5. History lesson

Read something ancient – an old book or document that was written a long time ago. Read it out loud, listen to the words, but then try to hear those words in the context of when it was written, who it was written by, and why it was written.

6. Oldie but goodie

Watch and old movie or listen to an old song that you’ve seen or heard a million times – can you hear something you haven’t heard before?

Do you have more suggestions? We’d love to hear them! Email [email protected] and let us know how you practice Listening. You can also engage in the conversation on Facebook.