One of the most effective practices is to listen as if you were the other person who is talking.
For example, looking at a situation from my wife’s point of view benefits me. We settle what could be a disruptive situation a lot quicker and more effectively than if I looked at the situation only from my point of view.
This is a conscious choice that I make. When I do this, I get better results than when I do not. I practice an alertness to situations where I can employ this technique so that it becomes a “habit of mind,” as Dr. Art Costa refers to it.
I feel good when I take charge of my own behavior because I feel that I am more in control.
This strategy means that I set aside some of my own views and redirect some of my impulsive reactions. It means that I ask reflective questions. It means I empathize. These skills require practice. Furthermore, there is a commitment—a trying to get better at it.
After the conversation with my wife, I look back and reflect: “Did I do a good job?” “Could I have done it better?” “What might I do better next time when we have one of these situations?” “What procedure will I follow to be sure that I implement my intentions?
One of the beautiful characteristics of being human is the opportunity for continual improvement.