Day 12

Week 2: Seven Habits

Day 12: Habit #5 – Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood.

The Sefirah of Hod and Habit 5 relate to ’empathic listening’ – listening with intent to understand the other person’s frame of reference and feelings. Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival – to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, and to be appreciated.

It can be dangerous to prescribe without an accurate diagnosis. An effective salesperson seeks to understand the needs, concerns and situation of the customer. An amateur sells products, the professional employs the attribute of Hod and sells solutions.

By understanding the other person, we can learn their paradigms through which they view the world and their needs. Then we can try to resolve our differences to work together.

From Stephen Covey:

“If you’re like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you’re listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. Do any of the following sound familiar? … “Oh, I know just how you feel. I felt the same way.” “I had that same thing happen to me.” “Let me tell you what I did in a similar situation.”

Be like Aaron: “Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood.”