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Understanding, Misunderstanding, & The Power to Make a Difference

There are two unfair realities that every communicator must come to grips with:

First, there will be people who listen to what you say for reasons that have nothing to do with your character. Whether you encourage people to do this or not, it is inevitable that someone will consider you a part of their tribe merely because of your gender, your race, your age, your job title, the city you’re from or some other attribute that has very little to with your integrity or intelligence.

The second unfair reality is the exact opposite. One of the harsh realities of life is that some people will refuse to take you seriously because of your gender, your race, your age, your job title, the city you’re from or some other attribute that has very little to with your integrity or intelligence.

When you encounter the first unfair reality, use your unearned position of influence as a platform to promote truth, freedom, and character. Rather than exploit people’s biases, encourage them to broaden their horizons beyond blind faith in the people they admire. Inspire them to become critical thinkers who are open to learning from anyone.

When you encounter the second unfair reality, refuse to let it distract you from your duties towards the first.

Whether you’re unfairly understood or unfairly misunderstood, be fair to your capacity to use both experiences as an opportunity for good

It’s difficult to be influential and insulting at the same time

“An offended party is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.” -Proverbs 18:19

The wrong attitude: I think your rule is stupid. In addition to it being unreasonable, it causes me all sorts of inconveniences that could easily be avoided if you just decided to stop being so rigid and dogmatic.

The right attitude: I get it. You have your rules for a reason and I know you wouldn’t be so passionate about upholding them unless they were designed to protect the things that really matter to you. With that being said, I’m making an appeal to you because I find myself in a most peculiar situation. In light of this situation, I’m asking you to work with me as an act of grace. You owe me nothing, but I would really appreciate it if you could make an exception by accommodating my request at this time.

T.K.’s two cents: It’s not about the words. It’s about the attitude behind the words. If your negotiation tactics require the other party to admit that they’re being stupid, you’re at a disadvantage. When you treat people as if they’re reasonable, they tend to respond as if they’re reasonable.

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