Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

The other day I was driving my five year old daughter to school. She then started talking about all sorts of random things. About her new friend; the new swimming pool; the interesting cartoons, her young sister, etc. I must have lost all attention for she soon asked me if there was something wrong with my ears. Startled, I inquired why this would be the case. She then told me I was not listening to anything she was saying and that she was concerned my ears had a problem.

I had a hearty laugh. Perplexed, she sat back in her seat, folded her arms, and looked out the window. I then urged her to tell me the full story. She hesitated for a moment then proceed to narrate her entire ordeal. This time I paid full attention. I kept nodding, asking questions, prodding for more detail, and showed keen interest. I could see she was pleased with my new found span of concentration.

I then began to explain my new found deafness. “It is not because I am not interested in listening to your stories. I simply have a lot on my mind. I am on my way to becoming a billionaire. I have grand ambitions. I am building a manufacturing power house to be revered in a few years. I am building an International personal development brand. I want to leave you a huge inheritance. I am building a legacy. Building big things sometimes calls for deep thought. Sometimes the inspiration for deep thought comes from hearing stories from special people like you.” I could see her blushing at this point. “Forgive me for drifting off. I promise to do better.” We proceeded in a calm silence thereafter.

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