You think differently than others do. You see things others don’t see. You draw different conclusions from the same things that others see, because you see things through the lens of your unique perspective.
This ability to think, assess, and draw conclusions is the culmination of the way your brain was wired, the way you were raised, the culture and society that has influenced you, the education—both formal and life experience—that you’ve acquired, your values and beliefs, and the character traits built within you along the way. All those things have created a filter through which you see the world. This is your unique perspective.
Many people are not great at communicating their perspective. They fail to communicate why they see things differently than others. Too many people don’t even try to do so or give up trying if others don’t immediately get it or become argumentative. Failing to communicate our different perspectives can result in damaged relationships and cultural divides.
Personal and professional relationships thrive or die in accordance to our ability to communicate. If others don’t understand us, they’re more likely to take offense at what we say (or fail to say), and they’re less likely to forgive. In our personal lives, this translates into damaged or destroyed relationships. In our work life, this can result in losing customers, being passed over for promotion, or losing our jobs entirely. Failure to communicate never helps us survive and thrive.
Ask yourself honestly, can you effectively communicate the conclusions you draw without argument? Can you communicate your opinions without requiring that others agree? Do you listen without interruption to the opinions of others? Do you try to persuade others by getting louder, by getting angry, or by personal attack or outright threatening of the relationship? Or conversely, when there is a difference of opinion or disagreement, do you calmly try a different approach to explaining your position?
If you find yourself in conflict with someone who hasn’t effectively communicated his or her position, don’t argue. Adopt the position that the person has a valid reason for his or her opinion, and that he or she is entitled to it.
Unfortunately, even when we’re trying to understand others, people who have a hard time articulating their opinions, feel misunderstood. This is especially true when trying to discuss emotionally charged, controversial subjects, When people feel misunderstood, they can get frustrated, angry, and sometimes, defensive. This widens the division. And when people judge those who don’t share their opinions as wrong, ignorant or stupid, or worse—evil, the relationship breaks.
Each of us is responsible to communicate thoughtfully and effectively to others. Only you can translate your thoughts into words. It’s up to you to do that. Don’t expect others to clairvoyantly understand you. They can’t read your mind. It’s on you to explain.
When you’ve done the best you can to articulate your perspective, but you find yourself in a situation where you’re trying to communicate with someone who just doesn’t understand, consider that there may be other factors involved of which you are unaware.
For example, think about people who have challenges with their cognitive functioning, or those who are cognitively sharp but have trouble finding the right words to express their thoughts. Or consider the person who is trying to communicate in a language other than his or her native language and is struggling to find the right words.
None of us can know precisely at what level another person’s brain is functioning. He or she may be a wizard with numbers yet struggle to speak a proper sentence. So be patient. Give others the time they need to find the right words, to fully form their thoughts and words without interruption.
Value the unique ways that our brain thinks, and value the perspective of others by asking questions, then really listening (without interrupting) as they try to communicate their thoughts. If you will do this, your relationships, and the quality of your life, will improve exponentially.
Finally, valuing relationships over the futile, energy-sapping, time-wasting of persuading others to agree with our perspectives, will enrich our lives. Good relationships are the foundation of personal and professional success. Besides, people are far more open to your opinions if they feel respected by you.
In every relationship, communication is key. Our value in the eyes of others and our success in the workplace increases exponentially as we learn to effectively communicate our thoughts, perspective, opinions, and the conclusions we draw from our experiences, education, insights, and inspiration. Opportunities come to those who can effectively communicate with others.
Rhonda Sciortino, author of 30 Days To Happiness (featured on Ellen DeGeneres' show and included in her Kind Box), was abandoned at the age of 6 months, raised by a mentally ill man and an alcoholic woman in a bizarre, emotional roller coaster of a childhood. Rhonda Sciortino used the coping skills from her childhood survival to create personal and professional success. Through her speaking, writing, podcast, media appearances, and videos she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to a their real success.