In this time more than any; with social media, a pressure on popularity, and the polarization of political views, it seems that the sharing of ideas focuses more on voicing a lone opinion that cannot deviate from the original idea. The quote by Stephen R. Covey: “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”; expresses the overall stress that society places on individuality rather than a collective understanding. We all want to be heard in order to be understood, however with the increase in social media forms that encourage only the individual’s opinion through vents and rants, we suffer to conform on a base level, and thus to accept the drivel spouted forth. Internet forums, online chat platforms, and social outreach programmes need to focus on a better way to encourage open, honest conversation and debate in order to promote a community of trust for all to benefit from emotionally.
As Stephen R. Covey conveys, an issue of self-expression exists in the type of person who listens to another, only to await for their moment to respond with their opinion without truly listening. Covey’s point in imparting this wisdom is to remind others to really listen with intellectual interest instead of their ego or to only promote their own agenda.
Stephen R. Covey is the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people” and through his outline of each habit, gives reasons for understanding one’s personal accountability. These habits are an effective tool to ensure that an individuals’ intent changes from an internal dialogue into a conversation where both sides are respectful in their responses.
The first habit, “Be Proactive”, can remind one to focus on the words being said and have the intention to respond with one’s own thoughts to gain more information for a complete apprehension.
The second habit is to “Begin with the end in mind”, so that when a conversation starts, one can focus on what outcome will be and thus know what to take away from the immediate conversation. Placing focus on understanding alongside the importance of your own opinions, is achieved by letting lessons happen through experience instead of telling oneself only ones’ own opinions must be of first importance.
The third habit, “Put first things first” can help support the second habit so that one’s mindset has a clear path with multiple reasons for having a chance to speak and be heard. Once another person feels heard and realizes that a person has listened with the sole intent to understand rather than just respond, and takes turns to listen and appreciate the conversation, this then creates a cooperative for habit four: “Think win/win.” All emotional understanding comes from the relationship between the heart and mind, which reveals truth.
Within the fifth habit, to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, all movements towards honesty are attempts to share comprehension within a conversation.
Habit six, to “Synergize”, is the result of when understanding can lead to the sharing of ideas in order to execute them, for a cooperative objective for the benefit of all. A collective group that can all fully master cooperation through understanding can bring new projects that can be of use for a future of collective progression, and that moves away from the selfish attitudes that are so prevalent nowadays. Learning to be able to own one’s purpose to understand in order to hear, learn and then share instead is achieved through the continued practice of all the habits, and trusting in the process each time an opportunity presents itself.
The final habit, “Sharpen the saw”, is to always work on the skills learned in order to make them second nature, and with this it becomes easier each time, and with much more benefit to the inner growth of compassion, and for the success of the self – within us and in others. Through the various methods of interaction we can gain momentum in order to have less defiance against others, which can be a change in the pursuit for an evolution to recognize that our differences rest close to the surface of our issues. Furthermore, inside the building of a reliance upon manufactured self-esteem, is a wish for the right to a personal opinion and a need for understanding before compromise. Realizing this could be the ultimate achievement for our species as a whole.