Seek First to Understand

Mr. xxxxxxxxx,

Not since Marilyn Manson have I heard one of life’s keys so beautifully explained as you did in your recent conversation with xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx.

Here was Marilyn in Bowling for Columbine:

Interviewer: If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine and the people in that community, what would you say to them?

Marilyn: I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say. And that’s what no one did. 

In a different way, you presented the same genre of behavior when Ryen asked you what you would tell your younger self:

You don’t tell people; you connect with people. And that’s the biggest flaw in NFL coaching right you. You have a lot of people that want to tell you what you do right and wrong. Very few are willing to connect with you. And I think that at that stage of my life I would have known to connect with 22-year-old Trent before I told him what to do and what not to do.

If one can simply remember this principle – seek first to understand, then be understood – profound connection with others is trivially easy.

It’s just that in the moment, when fatigue, anger, annoyance, sadness and/or jealousy strikes, this profound principle is replaced with an all-consuming focus on I, me, my and mine. 

That’s why reminders like yours are so important: they help us remember the way we know we want to be.

So, thanks and good luck with your new coaching gig.