beliefs guide everything we do

I’m going to talk about 2 beliefs this time;

Have respect for the other person’s model of the world/point of view

My previous articles have talked about how we act in accordance with our map of the world and now that we have this knowledge and understanding it changes how we interact with others.

Taking this a small step further, our interactions will improve even more when we respect others point of view/model of the world.

We don’t have to agree with them, but if we can respect and honour their point of view, then our interactions will be more positive and productive.

As an example I recall 2 people I had to deal with in a previous job (before I learned NLP), the first often disagreed with me but respected my knowledge and opinion, and the second didn’t, frequently attacking my point of view. I got on so much better with the first person and our discussions were far more productive and I avoided conversations with the second person as much as possible which wasn’t very helpful as the he was my manager.

I’m sure you can think of similar situations or people in your past where someone acted like this and if they had respected your opinion and knowledge the communication would have been more productive.

How many people do you know who tell you what you “ought” to do? They use words like “should” and “must,” they believe that their opinion (map) is right and based on this they know absolutely what is right for you. This is a way of demonstrating that they don’t respect your point of view.

The opposite are those people who are respectful, listen to you with sensitivity, and understand that just because a decision works for them doesn’t mean that it will be good for you. These latter people understand that everyone has a different perception of reality and they respect it.

Exercise time

  • If you hear yourself saying things like “if I were you, you should/must/ought to….” etc. STOP and instead ask the other person what they think might work.
  • Notice when you’re not respecting another’s model of the world or opinion, pause for a moment step into their shoes and really listen instead to what they say with an open mind.
  • If you do this you and are communicating from a place of empathy will find that your conversations will be more productive.

People respond to what they think you’ve said, not what you think you’ve said

How many times have you said something to someone and got a different response to the one you were expecting? I know it’s happened to me many times in the past and has lead to a lot of discussions and confusion.

The goal of communication is to express what’s inside you to someone else. You will be using your filters when you speak and the listener will be using theirs so often there’s a gap between what you say, and what is received by the other person. With all these filters it’s quite amazing that we ever understand each other.

To me this familiar quote from Robert McCloskey sums up this belief – ieI know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

So what this belief means is accepting that just because you think you speak clearly doesn’t mean that everyone will understand you. If you take 100% responsibility for your communication and the reactions you get, and change what you say until the recipients fully understand you will then find that, you will reduce misunderstandings and develop flexibility in how you communicate.

So if someone asks a question or isn’t clear when I’ve explained something, I’ll assume that it is because I haven’t explained it to their satisfaction and I’ll explain it again, differently.

Exercise Time

  • If you become frustrated or irritated because someone hasn’t understood what you’re saying, take responsibility and keep finding new ways of explaining until they do.
  • To do this you must keep changing the way you communicate, for example use different words or phrases, speak slower and keep checking out specifically what the other person isn’t clear about. This can require patience, understanding and flexibility.

When you integrate this belief fully into your life you will find that, in addition to improving your communication skills your levels of frustration with others will decrease immeasurably.

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