Understanding the mind of others means getting their perspective, instead of taking their perspective.
Communication is an important skill in life.
In today’s busy world, everyone is in a hurry. We hardly pay attention or take the time to understand people close to us.
We make superficial judgments without making the real effort to understand the reason behind people’s actions. No one has time to pause, reflect and take a conversation to a deeper level.
If you are serious about knowing others, and making real connections, invest time in your relationships. Understanding someone on a deep level requires a completely different mindset — an open mind to listen instead of judgement.
In his book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman listed ‘understanding others’ as the first element of empathy. He also suggested that understanding others is more than just sensing other people’s feelings and emotions. It also means taking a genuine interest in them and their concerns.
It’s a hard skill to master, but it allows you to achieve the most important goal in almost any life — connecting, deeply and honestly, to other human beings. It helps us understand others’ beliefs, feelings, experiences and intentions.
Most conflicts and misunderstanding in relationships in life and work can be avoided if we knew how to better relate with people, when you aim to understand. You will easily avoid misfires which cause mutual communication to break down.
Relationships are your job to maintain if they mean something to you.
I am still trying to deliberately improve this aspect of my life. Learning to understand others is just like learning any other skill. It takes time to get better at it, but it gets better. All you need is patience, persistence and practice.
Listen past your blind spots
Listening is by far one of the best ways to understand others. You can easily be good at speaking and bad at listening because we naturally want to make our case in many situations,We seek first to be understood.
Scott Young, author of Ultralearning Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career, argues, “My guess is that listening — meaning all the effort taken to correctly understand the social context and minds of other people — is probably more like 80% of social skills, with the last 20% being delivery of your message.”
Want to understand, engage and become a better listener? Repeatedly tune into the interior of the people around you.
“Tune into their emotions, particularly the softer ones underneath verbal positions or anger. Watch the eyes closely; human eyes are the most expressive of any species on our planet. Open up to your own gut feelings, which could be resonating with those of other people,” says Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a senior fellow of the Greater Good Center at UC Berkeley.
Understand others’ is a kind of mindfulness practice. It’s about sustaining attention to someone else’s inner world. The most influential people strive for a genuine connection with others.
Show that you get “it” by keeping and maintain an open mind to “get” what they mean. Show that you understand the challenges your conversational counterpart is facing. To understand someone, we should not imagine their point of view but make the effort to “get” their perspective.
In a study on Perspective Mistaking, the authors Tay Eyal, Mary Steffel, and Nicholas Epley
Said that taking another person’s perspective is widely presumed to increase interpersonal understanding It doesn’t.
They wrote, “True insight into the minds of others is not likely to come from honing your powers of intuition,” Epley wrote, “but rather by learning to stop guessing about what’s on the mind of another person and learning to listen instead.
The authors concluded “Understanding the mind of another person is therefore enabled by getting perspective, not simply taking perspective.”
Mark Goulston and John Ullmen explain, “Like Mike Critelli does, when you practice all three of these ways of “getting” others — situational, personal, and solution-oriented
You understand who people are, what they’re facing, and what they need in order to move forward. This is a powerful way to achieve great results while strengthening your relationships.”
Connecting with someone on a deeper level means choosing to understand their strengths, weaknesses, goals, hopes, priorities, needs, limitations, fears, and concerns. It means demonstrating that you’re willing to connect with them on a personal level.
Listening is an active skill.
It requires you to clear your mind of personal biases. When you are fully present with people and listen instead of judge, it’ll likely blow your mind how much effort it really does require.
Understanding others does not mean that you have to necessarily agree with their point of view, or feelings. Instead, it means you recognize their point of view and accept that it is different from yours.
There is a big danger in judging others without getting their perspective. We can easily into the trap of so earnestly wanting to get our point across, we forget to listen and understand.
Don’t allow your biases to come in the way of your relationships. Be objective as you listen and aim to make deeper and better connections with people.
Remember what Dr Stephen Covey once said, If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations. It would be this Seek first to understand then to be understood.