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can you hear that?

October 26, 2016

I don’t want to be the one coming out in support of gender stereotypes, but…

it is true that there are certain things my wife can hear that I cannot. Like these things:

Puppies in a line

Middle of the night or middle of the day, middle of a storm – it doesn’t matter. If they so much as squeak she will hear them. The only time I am aware that they are making noise is usually preceded by her saying “can you hear that?”. I can’t but I am now wide awake and able to hear lots of other things. The result is the same though, neither of us can sleep.

In my defence there are things that I can hear that she seems unable to. Like this:

A dishwasher

The dishwasher is mostly my responsibility: filling it, emptying it and repairing it when it breaks. Has been for the last 15 years. To me there is a very clear difference between the ‘everything is operating correctly’ noise it makes and, for example, the sounds that come from it when a cutting board or piece of cutlery has stopped the arm from spinning. Day or night, rain or shine it doesn’t matter, my attention is drawn to it. Nobody else in the house hears it or seems to care.

Actually, that’s not quite true. Whether it is puppies or dishwashers or a request for everyone in the team to please make sure the paperwork is complete and filed correctly before closing out an order … we all hear those things. The sound waves do reach our ear drums but we often don’t listen to them – until we care.

The nights that my wife is not home and I am responsible for puppies I do not sleep well. It always seems they somehow know to be especially noisy on that one night over all others. They aren’t. It is just that on that night I care and I listen.

So if you are being kept awake at night because you are having trouble communicating with someone in your team don’t ask them “Can you hear what I am saying?” – they can. Don’t ask  them “What do I have to do to get you to listen?” – that is the wrong question. Ask “What can I do to help them to care about the things that I care about?” – once you have the answer you will be able to sleep like a baby. Unless you have a baby. Then you never sleep…


If you would like me to come and share with you and your team the benefits that come from my work in the theatre and the experiential learning environments that I create, make me an offer via the Contact Me page.

Here is what some participants have said about their experience with me:

I didn’t know what to expect next at any time and this made for a creative and thought-provoking space.  The ‘having no control’ nature of the game whilst having to exercise a high level of control and self-awareness at all times was challenging on many levels and this would suit every member of a team […]


A week out from participating in the Samurai Game with Paul Marshall as facilitator, I am now convinced of what I had merely suspected, minutes out from completion – the Samurai Game has changed my life. Having recounted the ‘story’ of the day to a number of people close to me, from the introduction, to […]

Sara (Solicitor)

For more on the Samurai Game you should start here and here.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 26, 2016 11:46 am

    Great point Paul. Would love advice on how to make my kids care about all the stuff they leave on their floor 😉

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