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The Importance of Understanding

The Importance of Understanding


    Pilots in the early days wore silk scarves and goggles. The scarves and goggles, in fact, became icons of open-cockpit pilots, and to this day souvenir designers put them on teddy bears and ceramic turtles so people can immediately identify them as pilots. The scarves and goggles are wonderfully romantic and iconic fashion symbols, aren’t they?

    But do you know why pilots wore them? The radial engines of those early planes were notorious for leaking fuel and oil, and since the pilot sat right behind them in the open cockpit, any leaking fluids ended up right on them and in their faces. They used the silk scarves to wipe the oil or diesel off their goggles in mid-flight, so they could see!

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    This is just one example of how appearances do not measure up to reality. The scarves seem like a fashion statement, or perhaps for warmth, but their appearance belied their true purpose. We can easily make the same mistake today, in judging things from their appearances.

    For example, I knew a pastor of a church who once drove a Cadillac. Seem a bit extravagant for someone whose wages are paid by their hard-working parishioners? It was the cheapest car he ever owned; he bought it second hand and got a very good deal on it. He replaced it with a Jeep Cherokee – the most expensive car he’d ever owned. But it didn’t get second-looks and he didn’t put up with any judgement for owning it.

    There is a big danger in judging things we don’t really understand by how they appear. Unless you are really “in the loop,” be wary of things that you see or things others tell you. Remember the old adage

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    “Believe half of what you say, a third of what you see, and none of what you hear.”

    There’s a lot of truth in that. Don’t let yourself be spun for a loop over office politics, or rumours and speculation of what management is planning. Steer clear of the gossips and don’t give them any ammunition, that is, don’t say gossipy things to them or even drop hints. This still applies to you if you’re self-employed; don’t believe everything you hear on the news – in particular, speculation and forecasting. A lot of times, those people are only guessing about what’s going to happen and they can cause you a lot of worry that doesn’t do you any good. They are often wrong, something they won’t usually point out in the news at a later date. In some cases, the news can even take on a “gossipy” sound to it, and whenever you get that vibe, be very wary or tune it out.

    Practice being slow to form an opinion of someone or something. If something grabs your attention, research it thoroughly before making any conclusions.

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    “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

    We can fall into the trap of so earnestly wanting to get our point across, we forget to listen to the person we are speaking to. And even when we listen, how often do we really seek to understand? If you find you have issues understanding those around you, slow down and try to truly understand:

    • Where they are coming from.
    • What they are going through.
    • What is their motivation for doing something.
    • What they need or want from you.

    Obviously, the answers to these questions vary greatly depending on who you are having communication trouble with. Be objective as you listen, as if you were a detective trying to solve the case, and don’t take anything personally. Once you feel like you understand the other person – why they are wearing that silk scarf – then you can “seek to be understood.”

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    (Photo credit: Understanding Road Signs via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2019

      5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

      5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

      We all have relationships. We have acquaintances, relatives, colleagues, neighbors and friends. However, for a large percentage of us, many of these relationships are not fulfilling.

      They are unfulfilling because they lack real strength; and they lack real strength because they lack real depth.

      Unfortunately, in today’s society, we tend to have shallow, superficial relationships with others, and it’s extremely hard for this kind of relationships to provide anything more than faint satisfaction.

      I’d like to show you, based on my experience as a communication and confidence coach, how you can add a significant amount of depth, and thus strength, to your relationships and make your social life a whole lot more meaningful.

      Here’re 5 simple yet powerful ways for meaningful relationships building:

      1. Meet More People

      This is an apparent paradox, but the quality of the people you meet has considerably to do with the quantity of people you meet.

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      If you don’t know a lot of people and you barely meet one or two new people every season of the year, considering the variety of individuals out there, you won’t meet very often people who are a good match with you in terms of personality, interests and values.

      And since this natural match plays a huge part in building strong relationships, you’ll just as seldom have the opportunity to develop strong relationships.

      Conversely, if you go out a lot, you meet a lot of new people and you constantly expand your social circle, you’re much more likely to meet people you match up well with, and these people have a tremendous potential to become good friends, reliable partners, etc.

      This is why it’s important to meet more people.

      2. Talk about the Things That Matter To You

      A relationship becomes the strongest when two people discover they believe in the same things and have similar interests. It’s these commonalities regarding values and interests that create the strongest emotional connection.

      I’ve noticed that many people keep conversations shallow. They talk about trivial stuff such as the weather, what’s on TV, the lives of various movie stars, but they rarely talk about what really matters to them in life. This is a mistake from my perspective, because it’s the perfect method for a relationship to not develop.

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      Talk about the things that truly matter to you and give others a chance to know what you care about and what you believe in. If they believe in the same things and they care about the same things, they’ll eagerly let you know. Thus you’ll find meaningful common ground and you’ll feel more connected.

      3. Express Vulnerability

      Many people try to come off as perfect. They don’t talk about their failures, they hide their shortcomings and they never say anything that could embarrass them.

      This is all just a facade though. You may appear perfect to some, but you know you’re not perfect and they know that too. You’re only human and humans have flaws.

      However, by hiding your flaws, what you do succeed in is appearing cold and impersonal. You seem like a marble statue rather than a real person. And this makes it very hard for anyone to connect with you emotionally.

      Humans connect with other humans, not with ideals. Keep this in mind and don’t be afraid to let your vulnerability and your humanity show. This is what takes a relationship to the next level.

      Take a look at this article and find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

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      4. Have Integrity

      Integrity, as I see it, is the alignment between your thoughts, your words and your actions. When you say what you think and you do what you said you’ll do, you have integrity.

      This is a crucial trait because if you have integrity, people can trust you. They can trust you to give them an honest feedback, even when it’s hard to shallow, and they can trust you to keep your promises.

      This trust is one of the central pillars of a strong relationship, both in your personal and your professional life. So, as challenging as it can be sometimes, always try to have integrity.

      Be honest with the people around you, even when this will initially hurt them. It’s more important for them to trust you than to not feel hurt. And always do what you promised. Even better, think twice before you promise anything, and only promise what you really can and you are willing to do.

      5. Be There for Others

      Another central pillar of strong relationships is support. Connections between people grow sturdy if they can rely on each other for support when it’s needed, whether that support means a few kind words or several massive actions.

      Of course, you can’t be there for everybody, all the time. Your time, energy and other resources are limited. But what you can do is identify the genuinely important people in your life and then seek to be there as much as possible, at least for them.

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      Your support will help them practically, and it will comfort them emotionally; which makes one hell of a difference in a relationship.

      The Bottom Line

      With the right mindset and the right behavior, you can strengthen a wide range of relationships in your life and advance them as far as they can be advanced.

      And with strong relationships, not only that you feel more fulfilled, but you feel more connected to the entire world. You feel that your life has real value, you have more fun and you live in the moment. An entire world of opportunities opens up in front of you.

      Then your task is to simply walk through the open doors.

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      Featured photo credit: Proxyclick Visitor Management System via unsplash.com

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