The Most Important Thing To My Ear...

So it's been over a year since the last "blog post", which was actually a tutorial. I haven't utilized this blog for anything. I've had ideas over time but nothing really felt worthwhile. I never really had expectations to write much on here since I just haven't felt like there was a ton that I could talk about that wouldn't be me spouting terrible opinions simply to be edgy. That's finally changed, though. In my interactions with people, especially those that I mentor, I use various phrases and sayings that they can use to be better, more well-rounded, people. I'm going to start writing about them and putting my explanations in writing. Now it's still terrible opinions, but maybe someone might get something out of it.

Upon encountering someone who was soft spoken, especially if it were someone younger, my mentor would always say "The most important thing to your ear is your name. The most important thing to my ear is your voice." He would say that to tell them to speak up. I don't know where that phrase comes from, if it can be credited to an important figure or story, or anything else about it. As far as I know, he came up with it himself and, with how I viewed that man, I will proudly leave it there. Now that I serve a similar role for youth that he did for me, I use the same phrase. Now, I go a bit farther to explain it every time and this will really show that. There's a lot of weight to such a phrase. What does it mean? Does it really matter? Of course, you know whether I think it matters or not.

Let's start with the first half of this phrase. The most important thing to your ear is your name. For the longest time, I didn't really understand this. One thing I wish I could've asked him is what he meant by it. I give it two meanings, one being more relevant to listening and likely what he meant, and the other having my interpretations based on my experiences and overall view on the world.

The former is fairly straightforward. In the context of listening, the most important thing that you need to be aware of is your own name. Then you know if people are talking to you or about you for one reason or another. Should you hear your name and listen for your name, you're likely to effectively listen to what else that person has to say. Think about when you're talking to someone and they use your name as a way to emphasize their point. My dad will often do it when describing an experience he had. "Justin, the steak was unbelievable." The vocative case makes things more personal and that's due to the importance of people's own names to themselves.

The latter is a much larger concept. That being reputation. We always carry our names with us. Additionally, we carry our family's name. Most men carry that family name forever and it's a sort of duty to carry the name one by having children. Though even those who marry and take on a new surname still carry the name of their family and their reputation with them just less directly. Your name is associated with your actions. Your surname is associated with your family's actions. We should safeguard both and aim to keep associations with our names from negativity and people often do that and often go too far, hurting some and tarnishing part of their name with that group. The most important thing to your ear is your name. It's the one thing that people can be directly tied to you and referenced even when you are not physically present. Our goal in the social sphere is to make sure that name has few bad things tied to it and anything bad tied with recovery or fixing mistakes. Listen for your name. Know what people think of you. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter, of course, but knowing will let you know how to approach situations and people. That doesn't mean be cocky when people look up to you. Rather, it means to know when someone doesn't like you and figure out how to make the most out of that relationship. You can hate each other but still gain things from each other. Reputation itself is a massive concept. It gets into power and power games. To a certain extent, manipulation comes into play and it gets gross. That's all for another time.

For now, let's get into the actual point of this blog post. I'm long winded, I know. The most important thing to my ear is your voice. I must first clarify that voice doesn't exactly mean spoken voice. Sign language has accents and if you know me and have heard me talk, you are probably reading this in my voice. Everyone has their own style of writing just as they do speaking. It is imperative that you speak clearly and confidently lest you look weak or can't gain the attention of whoever you're talking to. Should that happen, you'll always find yourself at the feet of some ruler. I briefly mentioned power and I'll do my best to limit talk of it here; however, one's voice has a large impact on the amount of power they present and you don't need to be the most powerful person in the room, but you don't want to be the least powerful unless you enjoy being walked on. Metaphorically.

Everyone has something to say that's worth hearing. I assure you that you do yourself. Though if you can't present it without sounding insecure or unsure, very few people will listen to you. Don't be afraid of what people think when you speak. More often than not, you're overthinking their reactions and you have nothing to worry about. Your input in a discussion can be extremely valuable and appreciated. There are plenty of times where that's not the case, but that's where it's imporant to know when to speak. Knowing when to speak and when not to goes a very long way with gaining power and having that sort of aura that attracts people to listen to you. Simply hearing you speak can be a special event. It's all the better if when you do, you do it well.

Talk less, say more. I ramble, I know that I do. But at the end of my ramblings, I've usually made a point or 12. I'll even go so far as to name drop Luke Smith, a YouTuber with many videos on Linux, Free and Open Source Software, philosophy, self-improvement, and anything else that he cares to talk about. He's the guy whose videos got me into using minimalist linux, I use his guides and websites to set up much of what you see on this website. I'll be mainly following his guide when I overhaul the website to use Hugo instead of raw HTML. He is very smart and well spoken. I will often put on his videos or podcasts with the goal of learning something new, but realize that i just end up zoning out and having no idea what he said. So he realistically only appears to be well spoken. He has the voice and the inflections, but he doesn't have the organization to gather his thoughts and make meaningful points without adding "if", "and" and "but" to it.

But that itself is another point. The way he talks is attractive. He's clear, he's confident, he's jaunty with his language, and yet everyone who listens to him finds themselves tuning out. It's like they want to listen but can't because of his shortcoming with rambling. But that shows the importance of the confidence alone. People want to listen to you. If you can make the good points and keep them interested, then you find that people want to talk to you and you can have deep and thoughtful conversations with these people and make deeper connections with them. Another example I think is worth noting is President Franklin D Roosevelt, the reason why there is a 2 term limit in the United States. He was elected president 4 times and he was wheelchair-bound. Most Americans didn't know until his 4th term when he was too ill to even pretend to stand. The benefit to the main form of digital media in the 1930s and 40s being radio meant that Americans only knew his voice. By his voice alone, you wouldn't believe he was in a wheelchair. He might be the very definition of jaunty.That voice is what got him elected president. Add that with the country getting out of the Great Depression and involvement in World War II and it's no wonder that he managed to be elected 4 times as a Socialist in the US.

I understand that not everyone aspires to be God Emperor of the World as I do. But I'm not trying to say that you need to put yourself in positions of power. That's why I (poorly) tried to not mention it. Having a good voice that others can hear and understand is imperative to making valuable connections with others. Your relationships (romantic, platonic, and professional) are all better, you feel a bit better and stand a little taller, even if you can't walk, because you know that you can talk if you need to. You don't need a radio voice or anything that you can't control. It's your manner of speaking that matters the most.

But why is your voice the most important thing to me? Well if we spend all our lives in our own minds, we don't learn much. The best part of diversity is everyone has vastly different experiences from which they can draw which can help make the best plan of action for something. I need you to share your thoughts and ideas because I need to be able to see the world through your eyes so we can both become better people and leaders. We can solve problems together easier because we understand each other better. In the future, long after we've moved on from working and solving problems together, we can carry the knowledge we gained from each other for more interactions and problem solving. I'm using the example of solving problems, but it works with everything. Everyone has something to say that's worth hearing. What makes it worth it, is the insight, the entertainment it brings others, the fact that it benefits and builds others.

The most important thing to your ear is your name. The most important thing to my ear is your voice. We are all fighting for a good reputation among everyone that interact with, even with those we dislike. Knowing our names and knowing to listen for our names helps us achieve that goal. Another way we can achieve that is through our voices. We talk to and listen to others, buidling relationships and making connections that benefit us in one way or another. When we seek to better ourselves and become the best versions of ourselves, we need to be well spoken and confident in what we say. That way others can listen to us, learn from us, and spread our word. I once met an older man who told the group I was in "I'm Mormon. I will never die." We all laughed, but then he elaborated. "I will tell you things that you will go on to tell others. Those people will tell others. And my words carry on forever." Words are a lot more powerful than we often think, so we should learn to use them as best as we can.