Too often we harden our hearts to our own pre-conceived notions of people who are different from us. Instead, we need to be willing to think differently. We need to learn to understand others, who they are and what they go through.
“A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.”
You would not consider yourself a fool, would you? Nor would I! Yet too often I recognize how blinded I am by my own perspective and instead of listening and seeking to understand others, I only share what I think or how I feel based on my own experiences.
In January, I wrote about listening and learning how to listen first and then speak. This principle is very similar, but with a slightly different perspective (pun intended). When we hear a story from someone else, it’s not just about listening to their story. It’s about trying to imagine their perspective based on who they are.
Two people can go through the exact same thing but interpret and experience it in completely different ways. When someone shares their perspective with you, disregarding what they are trying to communicate because you can’t relate, or because you have experienced something similar with a different outcome, is foolish. That is something a fool does. That is not someone who desires to understand.
With the death of George Floyd, I believe many people are starting to realize this. They are ready to come to the table with open eyes, ears and hearts. They are ready to try to understand what it is really like to be African American in our country.
It is a great start! But it is only the start. We have to learn to continue to hold onto this principle and make it a part of who we are. We must learn to apply it across all cultures, races, religions, etc. and at every level of organization. Only then will real change begin to take place.
Spend time on this principle. Ask yourself what your perspectives are towards others and on what basis your perspectives have been formed. Then challenge yourself and what you think so that you really can begin to understand