- The first step is to listen. Understand what the other person is saying.
- Stop talking. I don’t mean to offend. Do I need to be clearer?
- Give your full attention to the other person, with an open mind.
- The second step is to understand what they said.
- You may need to ask a few questions. It doesn’t mean you are agreeing, just clarifying the other person’s thoughts.
- Repeating the other person’s words is helpful. Ask them to confirm your understanding.
- Patience and temperateness (yes, this is a legitimate word)
- My second career (I’m on my third) was as a teacher. I taught adults at a trade school. One of the best things I learned from the experience was from a wonderful woman, Merrily. She was my boss and a wonderful teacher. I loved her. She died of cancer some years back. Hmm. Her picture is still on my fridge. One day, I noticed that in a difficult discussion, she said “umm”, and “hmm” many times. I asked her about that. She said that she used “umm” and “hmm” to acknowledge the persons position without agreeing with it.
- When I started doing the same and it changed my world. There is great power in acknowledging another person. But it is equally helpful to keep some emotional distance from ideas or opinions you find unacceptable.
- Analysis. The next step is up to you. You can accept the opinions, attitudes, beliefs you’ve listened to. You can reject them completely. You can find some value in some of them while rejecting others.
- While teaching, I had a student, Cory. His mother is a follower of my Blog. Hi, Karen. Cory is exceptionally bright. He has amazing ideas and a power and clarity that just boggled the mind. He also had an ego that just didn’t stop and controlled everything. The class I taught was introduction to business management. I use lowercase because it is a boring class. Did I mention it is boring? But it is the basis of other business concepts which are much less boring. Cory didn’t read the text, didn’t participate well in classroom discussions and didn’t understand the information presented which meant he didn’t do well. Now he had all sorts of other ideas, conspiracy theories and alternate ideas, some of them brilliant, but flunked my class because he didn’t learn anything from it. (I might mention that I personally disagree with some of the concepts that I taught in that class. That doesn't mean they are invalid or not transformational.)
- It is okay to disagree, but you can’t grow without exposing yourself to experiences outside of yourself. Listen and understand. You can do that without agreement.
- The rest of us are not idiots. We have value. Just saying, Dude.
- It is okay to be yourself. In fact, I recommend it. I like people who are just plain unique. Find value where you can. Incorporate life experiences where you find them.
- But, shelter your Heart and Soul from things that you must. Grow from the experience. I ask Step-Son constantly “What did you learn”. Recently, he has started answering me. Oh Crap!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Kitchen talk #1; Life experience
Helpful hints for living: It is not necessary to agree with those around you. Personally, I prefer to associate with those who question everything and make up their own minds. Well, especially, if they can express their opinions in a logical and precise manner, but that’s me.