Hear Intentions Not Words


Language is a powerful tool for communication. The problem is, the system in our brain which turns our intentions into words is not perfect. The result of this is that we often don't say what we mean or we mean something that we don't say.

This is particularly apparent when talking about difficult subjects. Especially during difficult conversations, I have made a concerted effort to listen to intentions over words. David Cohen wrote a great blog post a few months ago titled Assume Good Intent. Assuming good intent is a powerful concept. Next time someone says something your gut perceives as critical ask yourself "what is their intention?" Their intention is often to be helpful. Some conversations are difficult by nature. Choose to work with people who have good intentions. Listen to their intentions not words, especially when they are critical.

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