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THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE Brought to you by FlyHeart
really understand?
Let's look more carefully at the son -- not just his words, but his thoughts and feelings (expressed
parenthetically below) and the possible effect of some of his dad's autobiographical responses.
"Boy, Dad, I've had it! School is for the birds!" (I want to talk with you, to get your attention.)
"What's the matter, Son?" (You're interested! Good!)
"It's totally impractical. I don't get a thing out of it." (I've got a problem with school, and I feel just
terrible.
"Well, you just can't see the benefits yet, son. I felt the same way when I was your age." (Oh, no!
Here comes Chapter three of Dad's autobiography. This isn't what I want to talk about. I don't really
care how many miles he had to trudge through the snow to school without any boots. I want to get to
the problem.) "I remember thinking what a waste some of the classes were. But those classes turned
out to be the most helpful to me later on. Just hang in there. Give it some time." (Time won't solve
my problem. I wish I could tell you. I wish I could just spit it out.)
"I've given it 10 years of my life! Can you tell me what good 'x plus y' is going to do me as an auto
mechanic?"
"An auto mechanic? You've got to be kidding." ( He wouldn't like me if I were an auto mechanic.
He wouldn't like me if I didn't finish school. I have to justify what I said.)
"No, I'm not. Look at Joe. He's quit school. He's working on cars. And he's making lots of
money. Now that's practical."
"It may look that way now. But several years down the road, Joe's going to wish he'd stayed in
school." (Oh, Boy! here comes lecture number 16 on the value of an education.) "You don't want to
be an auto mechanic." (How do you know that, Dad? Do you really have any idea what I want?)
"You need an education to prepare you for something better than that."
"I don't know. Joe's got a pretty good set-up." (He's not a failure. He didn't finish school and
he's not a failure.)
"Look, Son, have you really tried?" (We're beating around the bush, Dad. If you'd just listen, I
really need to talk to you about something important.)
"I've been in high school two years now. Sure I've tried. It's just a waste."
"That's a highly respected school, Son. Give them a little credit." (Oh, great. Now we're talking
credibility. I wish I could talk about what I want to talk about.)
"Well, the other guys feel the same way I do." (I have some credibility, too. I'm not a moron.)
"Do you realize how many sacrifices your mother and I have made to get you where you are?"
(Uh-oh, here comes the guilt trip. Maybe I am a moron. The school's great, Mom and Dad are great,
and I'm a moron.) "You can't quit when you've come this far."
"I know you've sacrificed, Dad. But it's just not worth it." (You just don't understand.)
"Look, maybe if you spent more time doing your homework and less time in front of TV..." (That's
not the problem, Dad! That's not it at all! I'll never be able to tell you. I was dumb to try.)
"Look, Dad. It's just no good. Oh, never mind! I don't want to talk about this anyway."
Can you see how limited we are when we try to understand another person on the basis of words
alone, especially when we're looking at that person through our own glasses? Can you see how
limiting our autobiographical responses are to a person who is genuinely trying to get us to understand
his autobiography?
You will never be able to truly step inside another person, to see the world as he sees it, until you
develop the pure desire, the strength of personal character, and the positive Emotional Bank Account,
as well as the empathic listening skills to do it.
The skills, the tip of the iceberg of empathic listening, involve four developmental stages
The first and least effective is to mimic content. This is the skill taught in "active" or "reflective"
listening. Without the character and relationship base, it is often insulting to people and causes them
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