Most of us live in urban areas. Back light eliminates a number of stars even though they are there. The “missing” stars just cannot be seen because of the glare of ambient city lights in the background. What happens when you drive out of town say 30-40 miles into the country? Ever get out of your car and look up at the night sky on a clear or low to no-moon night? What do you see? Many, many more stars brightly shining. Did they just show up? No, they have been there all along. We just did not have the right light to see them.
This experience is true in many situations, especially when there is disagreement. Think about the last time you either witnessed or became involved in a dispute. What happened? In our society we honor the “winners.” Does that attitude lend itself to finding areas of mutual agreement? Not hardly. Our ego takes over and we miss the stars that cannot be seen in bright light. Ego for me means Edging God Out.
My desire, as Steven Covey has stated, is to first seek understanding before you want to be understood. That shows respect for the other person’s opinion and view. They are working from a different light source than you or I might be using. What might be the results the next time you are involved in a miscommunication? Try to “seek to understand” first. One of my favorite checks on understanding is to ask “is there anything else?” Keep asking that question till the other person says, “I think that covers it.”
Out of respect for their opinion and a test of your listening skills, you should now be able to enumerate each of their points as you understand them. Repeat them back to them. Next share what you believe are their priorities as you understand them. Get agreement as to the order or prioritize. I recommend writing the points down and again asking “is there anything else?” one last time. What you have down is that ride out into the country: stopping to view lots more stars.
Now you can take each point and humbly share your view. I see point #1 this way: is it simply a grammatical interpretation or a more deeply held moral principle that is separating us? Remember EGO can throw off a lot of backlight and dilute or hide the stars. So it also can be when attempting to understand first.
Try this exercise for the next thirty days. See if you find the results more gratifying than the old way of disagreeing.