If, and I am not saying it is so, but for sake of argument let’s go with this, we only had 100 dollars worth of understanding to spend at any one time. How would you spend that money? Would you devote 90 dollars to your family and 10 to the rest of your life? or would you base the distribution on the needs of others? Deciding how and when to be understanding is never the easiest thing.
At times understanding comes with a cost that is above and beyond the assigned $100 of above. You may not realize that the cost is there, but it is. Understanding or acceptance (if you choose to call it that) is accepting that others have the right and add value to a process. There are times (we’ve all been there) sitting in a meeting where it is nearly impossible to find value or understanding. Do you burn your understanding trying harder in those scenarios?
I used to sit in meetings with a team i was on where it was more a circus. There was a dancing bear and a ring master and the two of them ran the show. Why? Because the dancing bear played up to the ring master. Between the two of them they never listened (in fact in you dig in the archives of this blog you will find a poem about meetings – dancing bears and colored sticks). Not listening means that the rest of the team then has to decide if they are going to expend their understanding. The thing is, we never did. There was no value in trying to help the ring master, because he only listened to the dancing bear. Which meant the rest of us looked at what was going on in meetings and withdrew.
It is a critical component of the human condition, understanding. It shows that we have compassion and empathy for those around us. The thing is we are all afraid of the cost of understanding. So we don’t listen (to avoid the cost) and we don’t understand (still avoiding cost) and then we wonder why no one else engaged. Well, its because no one understood where the other folks in the meeting were.