Are you a reader or a listener?

I read a book called ‘Managing Oneself’ and gained new insight into work and life. To give you a summary of this book, the author provides timeless ideas on how you can better manage your way of approaching people, tasks, and achievements both in your job and personal life. What interests me the most in this book is when he mentioned that you are either a reader or a listener. He insisted that people function better if they are aware of how they learn effectively. Here’s my take on it.

Failed Leadership

As written in the book, the reason why some leaders fail is that they do not understand how they learn. For instance, a politician was bashed by people because of the way he spoke publicly. But if we look back, the reason why this politician failed to make a good speech is that he learns better when reading through paper than listening to his assistant.

On the other hand, a manager was handed a bunch of papers to read, but he failed to do his report because he does not like reading and works better when someone tells him about the situation.

We can see that the issue between the two leaders is not because they are incapable, but because the people around them didn’t know how the leader learn. It can also be because the leader itself isn’t aware of it, or he thinks that having both ways is mandatory. But as the author said, “you can never change yourself, so master how you function and find a way to work with it.”

How the school system works

Like the leadership story, the school system seems to ignore this issue. We as previous and current students are taught to learn by both listening and reading. We are forced into a mixed system that makes us confused about our learning preferences. As a result, some students who can’t find their way of learning fail in class.

But recently, it seems like the new teachers and professors are becoming aware of the issue. Now, they give more learning options to students and try their best to reach out to the students’ needs. Some of the learning options include online classes, recorded lectures, and copies of lectures for future reference.

My Observation

After reading this section of the book, I did a little self-observation. Do I learn more by reading or listening? I try to get more into detail and ask these additional questions to myself:

  • As a student, how do I respond when someone asks what the professor said? Do I say “I also don’t know” or would I be able to provide the information?
  • If we are provided a copy of the syllabus, am I able to remember the information vividly or do I prefer asking someone about what to happen next?
  • After reading an article, can I explain it to someone almost perfectly or do I explain it with self-doubt?
  • What if someone told me an interesting story? Do I share it with others concisely or do I explain it with self-doubt?

Once I’ve asked myself these questions, I realized that I’m a reader.

Managing ourselves includes knowing how we learn effectively. The book made me realize that a lot of us fail in our duties not because we are incapable of learning, but because of how we learned it. Though our school and work system mix reading and listening together, I can see that some are becoming more aware of this issue and are taking new steps to help people discover how they learn. I’m so glad about this book because it made me realize how to learn effectively and how I can help others to find their own ways too.

So, are you a reader or a listener?



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