Thursday, January 20, 2011

Give This A Weeklong Trial

Get rested, resolve as many of your personal conflicts as possible, resolve not to correct the people around you in any way and then set out to learn what makes those you come in contact with think the way they do. This is a tough assignment. You'll be tempted to think/say, "in light of this, how can you possibly believe that?" Instead, do the hard thing: listen and learn.

You'll not understand things and be forced to ask questions. Do your best to keep them as neutral (non-judgmental) as possible. For example: "By that do you mean. . .?" Or "When you say good, how might you say that in another way?" See the world from their point of view if possible. Your opinion about their position probably won't change anything anyway, so keep it to yourself. At best, they might allow you to have "your own opinion," but not agree with it. At worst, once you have expressed yourself they might write you and your ideas off. Now how will you be able to relate to them?

After you've done this for a week, re-examine yourself and your positions. They will probably be intact. On the other hand, you may have, for the first time ever, found some areas of agreement with the other person and better understand how you can successfully communicate with them. It would be a great aid if you would also attempt to travel with them, doing the things that they do. If not with them, doing what they do in an attempt to better understand.

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