It’s easy to get lost in our own conclusions.
The other person? They’ve got it wrong. How frustrating!
Instead, what if we prime ourselves to be curious?
We wonder: How did the person we are speaking with come to believe that?
This is a side game we can play, suggests Vid Deva, Religious Scholar and Program Manager of Stagen’s Advanced Leadership Program, which I’m participating in this year.
“I understand you are that…,” we might say. “What I’m interested in is, who you are inside of that?
For example: “Yes, you are a Christian…” “Or, you are a Jew…” Or, “you are an atheist…
“Yes, and who are you inside of that?
“What about that is important to you? What is it you really care about?”
Underneath that. Underneath the label.
We might say, “I think you are saying ____________. Can you tell me how you came to that conclusion? Where did you get your information? What brought you to that point?”
The key is our mindset. We’re not “probing.” We’re curious.
Because in seeking to understand the perspective of the other person, we may discover something unfinished in our own perspective.
Criticism is easy.
Instead, what if lean into curiosity? When we do, we have an opportunity to understand more about ourselves.
Vid suggests we also miss out on appreciating the “divine spark” inside of those with whom we interact.
Not just the recipe. But that “pinch of them,” that expression of individuality which makes life interesting.
As Gandhi said, “If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.”
Reflection: Consider something I believe deeply. How did I come to believe that?
Action: Be curious about understanding something someone close to us believes. Gently inquire into how they came to believe that.