July 25th, 2011
“I don’t understand him. How could he do this to me?” Margie said to her brother Wayne. The top successful people I’ve interviewed have demonstrated keen insights into human behavior. The truly charismatic person makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. A secret is that the charismatic person can find something good in you even if he or she deeply disagrees you. “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald.
This is a really important point. Can you imagine that someone can be your friend and hold intensely different political ideas than you do? It is possible. Among my friends, some lean far to polar opposite points of view.
Can you hold the idea that a friend can love you but say something really mean on an off day? So we’ll use the H.O.P.E. process to connect with people even if they don’t agree with us.
H – honor the fear
O – open
P – perceive
E – express compassion
1. Honor the fear
I imagine that you may find this phrase “honor the fear” to be strange. Stay with me now. When I look carefully at the faces of people that I have met in different parts of the world (from New York to Nassau; from Indiana to Japan), I see both hope and concern. The concern may flash across the face ever so briefly. My point is: if you can imagine that the person you’re talking with is similar to you, someone with fear and joys, you might just extend more compassion toward him or her.
Why does someone believe something? Take a moment and imagine the fear beneath an opinion. Some people hold an idea because they’re afraid of losing their freedom to some situation. So what rules the world? Some people say “greed” or “desire for power.” Why would someone go overboard about money or power? Perhaps, the person never wants to be vulnerable or a victim again.
When I say “honor the fear,” I do not mean “agree with the fear.” I’m really talking about compassion. If someone says an extreme comment, consider asking yourself: “Hmmm. I wonder what this person is afraid of?”
Nothing new can happen without some openness. Someone I know talks about her fondness for a comment from Chesterton: “An open mind is like an open mouth, only good to clamp down on something solid.”
Hold on a moment here. If the mind clamps down, then nothing new can get in. This was vividly demonstrated one time when I was directing a feature film. Imagine actors gathered together and eating lunch. One actor said, “I’ve thought that it would be a good idea not to have a TV. Then, my children would have to do other things like play outside or get a hobby like painting.”
The group of actors was starting to “clamp down” on the idea of no TV in the house as being good for children. [Okay, I get it: on some level this might seem ironic -- actors and no TV?!]
Then the star of the feature film said, “I lived in a neighborhood where one house had no TV. When the kids went to other children’s homes, they didn’t play. Magnetically, they were drawn to the TV. It was too big of a deal not to have a TV in the house.”
At that point, the actors in this impromptu discussion had their minds “opened to another point of view.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines perceive as “to become aware of through the senses; especially.”
Here’s an important distinction. As human beings, we often don’t have all the information. We can be distracted by our own preconceptions.
Instead, it helps when you perceive that you don’t have all the answers in this moment and that your perception could be off.
Look more deeply. You’ll find that seeming opposites take place often in life. Remember, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s above comment about the “ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time.”
Here are examples of opposed elements:
* A parent who deeply loves his son but has no idea how to listen effectively
* A man who expresses his love to his wife with “quick-fix” comments and has no idea that his failure to listen is breaking her heart.
* A mother who truly wants the best for her daughter but “if her mouth is open, she is criticizing.”
Make sure to take care of yourself: enough sleep, good nutrition, exercise, and quiet time. Then, you’ll be able to perceive that you need more information or at least you can choose to withhold judgment — and ask a couple of gentle questions.
4. Express Compassion
Let’s return to the Merriam-Webster dictionary that holds that compassion is defined as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”
Express compassion for yourself. Let’s say you realize that a family member loves you but has poor skills (or no skills) for listening. Show compassion for yourself and find someone else to listen to you.
Author Joe Vitale wrote: “If you want the planet to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, contribute one healthy, wealthy, and wise person to it.” He is referring to you.
Misery doesn’t just love company. The truth is: misery creates company.
So relieve this world of some misery by being good to yourself. Show compassion toward yourself. Take care of yourself at least like you would treat a good friend visiting your home. Honor your own fear. Practice openness to view new ideas. Perceive that you don’t have all the answers in this moment and that your perception could be off. Then seek to gain more perspectives and knowledge.
Now, imagine more people doing that. Here comes some hope into the world.
P.S. Please consider bringing useful methods and skills to family, friends and even yourself with Tom’s 5 books at Amazon.com
New Kindle ebook (#1 on Amazon.com – Hot New Releases in Business Communication): Darkest Secrets of Persuasion and Seduction Masters: How to Protect Yourself and Turn the Power to Good
Another book: 10 Seconds to Wealth: Master the Moment using Your Divine Giftsnow available on Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/gDub2e [See a video
about 10 Seconds to Wealth at www.TenSecondstoWealth.com
Nothing Can Stop You This Year: How to Unleash Your Hidden Power to Persuade Well, Get More Done, Gain Sudden Profits, Command Intuition and Feel Great – free chapter at http://bit.ly/8zQywm
Do you really want to connect with someone important? (a friend, a loved one, a job interviewer, a supervisor). See a free chapter:
Be Heard and Be Trusted:
How You Can Use Secrets of the Greatest Communicators to Get What You Want, 3rd edition – free chapter at http://bit.ly/8H0rOO
P.P.S. Get a Free Special Report “9 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid . . . and 9 Surefire Solutions for Your Next Speech”
and learn the secrets Tom Marcoux, America’s Communication Coach, provides for CEOs, Business Owners, and Graduate Students Click for Your Free Report
America’s Communication Coach
Truth No One Will Tell You: How to Feed Your Soul, Save a Business, or Get a Job During an Economic Crisis — free chapter at http://bit.ly/8RTRk5