Jon Udell wrote a short piece that resonated with me on taking a principle from software engineering and applying it to discourse and relationships: “Check your assumptions”.
He takes the idea that when debugging, you should:
Focus on understanding why the program is doing what it’s doing, rather than why it’s not doing what you wanted it to.
And translating that to:
Focus on understanding why your spouse or child or friend or political adversary is doing what he or she is doing, rather than why he or she is not doing what you wanted him or her to.
That flips your behavior from one that is trying to modify someone else’s behavior to someone that is listening actively.
What other examples of this to think about?