Coaching Extravaganza Day 2 - Other People's Thinking

Imagine you and I go to see a movie together.

As we walk out of the theatre you tell me how much you hated that film. I proceed to tell you how much I LOVED it.

Same movie, totally different mental stories and thoughts about it.

Who's right? 

The answer: Neither one of us. To be "right" there has to be a "wrong", and that's where we get in trouble.

When it comes to MOVIES we can easily step back from it all, to see that it's not worth getting into a fight about. You think what you think and I think what I think and we just let it go and continue loving one another.

Imagine, though, that a mutual friend of ours makes a certain decision in her life. You think she's CRAZY for doing that and are actually pretty annoyed that she didn't consult with you about it. You feel disrespected and like you mustn't be very important in her life. I, however, couldn't care less what she does. I actually think it's cool that our friend did what she did - it shows independence and adventure and I'm actually a bit jealous of her spontaneity.

Unlike after the movie, though, we can't just let one another be. I think that my thoughts are the right thoughts. And you think that your thoughts are the right thoughts. And we each think the other person is CRAZY to think what they do and couldn't possibly be right and so we FIGHT.

"How can you possibly think that?" -- " WHAT?? How can YOU possibly think THAT??"

And even if we don't say that to one another, we think it. We tell ourselves stories about the fact that we think different things and how "I'm right and you're wrong".

And it's a mess.

This kind of thing happens all of the time when we have a disagreement with someone. A customer, a client, a partner, a child. You think your thoughts and they think their thoughts and you each think the other person is WRONG.

But what if that isn't the case? What if noone is wrong and noone is right. You're just different. Your thoughts and stories and personal and unique and variable and changing all of the time. And underneath all of that thinking you're both actually full of a quiet calm, a deep inner source of well-being, an infinite brilliance that's the bedrock underneath ALL of our thinking and mind chatter?

Next time you talk with someone -- ANYONE -- try to separate out what they think from what you THINK about their thinking. Listen for understanding - not to try and change what they're saying or show them another way, but to watch it all from a place of curiosity and wonder.

Allegra SteinComment