In habit number six, Covey encourages us to create synergy in relationships in order to develop new possibilities. He says we can do this by understanding the differences in other people’s perspectives by being open and creative. Covey believes synergism is better than compromise because it allows us to discover solutions to problems with other people when we would be much less likely to do so by ourselves. Unlike compromise, synergism is based on valuing the differences between people. If two people have the same opinion, one is essentially unnecessary. When we are aware of other people’s perspectives, new opportunities present themselves, new answers to old problems arise. By incorporating synergism into your recovery, you can open doors to new opportunities. Opportunities that you may have never known existed.
Today you can incorporate synergism into your relationships and your recovery. Today you can create new answers to old problems. Today you can be successful!
For us to increase our ability to develop win/win situations and improve our ability to interact with others, Covey introduces us to the habit of seeking first to understand, then to be understood. He explains that we should seek to understand people and their perspectives through empathetic listening. He goes on to explain this with an example:
Let’s say you go to an optometrist and tell him that you’ve been having trouble seeing clearly, and he takes off his glasses, hands them to you, and says, “Here, try these — they’ve been working for me for years!” You put them on, but they only make the problem worse. What are the chances you’d go back to that optometrist?
Covey believes that we are doing that very thing the optometrist does in this example when we do not seek to understand. Essentially, we are prescribing a solution before ever diagnosing the problem. Rather than doing this, he states we should practice empathetic listening and learn to listen with the intent to understand rather than the intent to reply. Learning to do this effectively involves great awareness. After all, Covey points out that communication experts estimate 60% of human communication is represented by body language, sounds represent 30 %, and words represent 10 %.
After we have done our best to understand, it is equally important that we do our best to be understood clearly and concisely. After an individual feels as though they were heard and understood, they will likely be more willing to understand your position. It is at this point that a win-win situation becomes extremely attainable. Learning to communicate effectively is an essential skill to develop in recovery. By seeking first to understand and then be understood, we increase our ability to do so substantially. Today you can seek to understand than to be understood! Today you can communicate effectively! Today you can be successful!