#31 Seek to understand

When we hear an opinion that’s different than ours, we instantly switch into defend mode. We stop listening and wait until it’s our turn to speak. And when it is, we start firing off arguments why the other side was wrong. And so we end up repeating what we already know rather than learning something new.

When someone brings up an argument or an idea, they have a reason for it. It makes perfect sense for them. Just like your stance makes perfect sense for you. By not seeking to understand them, you basically kill the conversation… and any future chance of people taking initiative or ownership.

So what should you do instead? Default to ‘why’. Each time someone comes up with an idea, a piece of feedback, or a comment, ask them: ‘why do you think it’s helpful?’ or ‘why do you feel like this?‘. Even if you have the same idea in the past and decided against it, you might get some new perspective that could lead to re-evaluating the idea. But you only get this through understanding. Sharing your opinion doesn’t get you anywhere.

It’s hard and I’m guilty of it myself. It’s even more the case when people often ask your opinion. But it’s just more the reason to start listening to others and learn something new.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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