It’s funny how wildly different interests of mine sometimes coalesce. A workshop I deliver on Influencing, a marketing seminar I am in, and a podcast I listen to on longevity and health-span intersected.
In our lives, work and personal, we attempt to influence others. We could be marketing something. We could be discussing our proposal to a board of directors. We could be trying to bring about a change of opinion on a subject with friends.
Our frustration comes from applying our frame of reference, our knowledge and our beliefs, onto the other person. Seth Godin in The Marketing Seminar pointed this out clearly, “They do not know what you know. They do not believe what you believe.” We have to do more than acknowledge that, we must understand their frame of reference.
We cannot do this though imagination–I think that she believes…I know he must have learned… If we do this, we often cause ourselves unnecessary stress and worry. Peter Attia mentioned several of his favorite quotes in a podcast late last year. One was from Seneca the Younger, “We suffer more in imagination than in reality”.
This resonates with me on many levels, but for this discussion it illustrates that we cannot imagine what someone knows or thinks, if we do we are often wrong or spin our wheels with unproductive “what-ifs”. Instead, we should spend time talking with them. Asking open ended questions, listening and confirming what was heard.
We should seek to understand others before asking them to understand us. We must look though thier lenses not our own.