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Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

Many people are well-trained to speak and to write well, but few are trained in the art of listening. Covey tells us that empathetic listening is something that is seldom practiced and because of this, a barrier is created between individuals.

If you went to an optometrist and he gave you his own glasses when you told him about your problem, you probably wouldn’t go back. What works for some people doesn’t work for everyone, and yet there are many people who try to push their ideologies on others without trying to understand where the other person is coming from.

If you want to help someone, change the way you listen to them. Don’t try to manipulate or coerce them into subscribing to your philosophy, but try to understand what they are trying to communicate.

Distance yourself from your own preconceptions, listen to their words calmly and try to see their perspective. When you do that enough, people will trust you, and they will seek your advice. More importantly, you will realize that the world is more complex than it first appeared to be. The truth is not black or white, and many people often have good points that you previously chose to ignore. Once you appreciate that the truth is more nuanced, your own attitude will shift. You will be more understanding.

But if you try to shove your opinion down people’s throats and make no attempt to listen carefully, they will not listen to you or follow your advice, even if what you have to say is important, and will benefit them greatly

"A gilded No is more satisfactory than a dry yes" - Gracian

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