Seek First to Understand

Quote of the Week


“It’s not what I think that counts, nor is it what you think that counts. It’s what I think you think and what you think I think that really counts.” Denis Waitley


Without communication, we would be as isolated and insulated as a delicate plant in a vast, lonely desert. It is our ability to communicate that allows us to interact, to become a community. Having evolved this amazing facility, doesn’t it make sense that we make the most of it?


Like many things that evolve over eons, we often take communication for granted. We are blessed with the ability to understand the needs of others and assist in fulfilling those needs, but all too often turn a deaf ear as we focus on our own wants and desires. This doesn’t make us horrible people, just people. Protecting our egos is something we learn at a very young age. But like many habits formed in childhood, what works to protect us as children can render us ineffective and dysfunctional as adults.


Fortunately, it is never too late to form productive habits. It starts by noticing when you are thinking instead of listening, focusing on your answer instead of the other’s experience. Once noticed you can begin to short-circuit your old listening patterns and form new, more effective ways to listen.


I think Stephen Covey stated it best: “Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood.”

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