How To Really Listen To People | Jordan Peterson | Best Life Advice

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okay we're having a conversation I'm

deciding I'm going to listen to you

right that's different than how people

generally communicate because usually

when they communicate they're doing

something like okay we're gonna have a

conversation and I'm gonna tell you why

I'm right and all win if you agree or

maybe you're having a conversation where

I don't know what you're trying to do

maybe you're trying to impress the

person you're talking to so you're not

listening to them at all you're just

thinking about what you're gonna say

next okay so that's not this this is you

might have something to tell me

and so I'm gonna listen on the off

chance that you'll tell me something

that would really be useful for me to

know and so if you agree with me and I

find that out I know nothing more than I

knew before I just know what I knew

before and maybe I'm happy about that

because you know it didn't get

challenged but I'm no smarter than I was

before but maybe you're different than

me and so while I'm listening to you

you'll tell me something I don't like

maybe it's something I find contemptible

or difficult whatever maybe you'll tell

me something I don't know and then I

won't be quite as stupid and then maybe

I won't run painfully into quite as many

things and that's a really useful thing

to know especially if you live with

someone and you're trying to make

long-term peace with them is they are

not the same as you and they're away

they look at the world and the facts

that they pull out of the world aren't

the same as your fact and even though

you're going to be overwhelmed with the

proclivity to demonstrate that you're

right it is the case that two brains are

better than one

and so maybe nine of the ten things they

tell you are dispensable or maybe even

49 out of 50 but one thing all you need

to get out of the damn conversation is

one thing you don't know and one of the

things that's very cool about a good

psychotherapeutic session is that the

whole conversation is like that all

you're doing is trying to express the

truth of the situation as clearly as

possible that's it and so now Rogers

proposition and I'll tell you why he

derived it was that if you have a

conversation like that with someone it


made both of you better it'll make both

of you psychologically healthier so

there's an implicit presupposition that

the exchange of truth is curative well

that's a very cool idea it's a very deep


it's the idea upon which Western

civilization although not only Western

civilization is actually predicated the

idea that truth produces health but for

Rogers that was the entire purpose of

the psychotherapeutic alliance you come

to see me because you want to be better

you don't even know what that means

necessarily neither do i we're gonna

figure that out together but you come

and you say look things are not

acceptable to me and maybe there's

something I could do about that so

that's the minimal precondition to

engage in therapy something's wrong

you're willing to talk about it

truthfully and you want it to be better

without that the therapeutic

relationship does not get off the ground

and so then you might ask well what

relationships are therapeutic and the

answer that would be if you have a real

relationship it's therapeutic if it

isn't what you have is not a

relationship god only knows what you

have you're a slave they're a tyrant you

know you're both butting heads with one

another it's a primate dominance

hierarchy dispute oh I don't know you're

like two cats in a barrel or two people

with their hands around each other's

throats but what you have is not a

relationship one of the things I try to

do in my therapeutic sessions is first

of all to listen to really listen and

then well I listen I watch and well I'm

listening things will happen in my head

you know maybe I'll get a little image

of something or I'll get a thought or a

question will emerge and then I'll just

tell the person what that is but it's

sort of directionless you know it's not

like I have a goal except that we're

trying to make things better

I'm on the side of the part of the

person that wants things to be better

not worse and so those parts of us have

a dialogue and the consequence of that

dialogue is that certain things take

place and then I'll just tell the person

what happened and it isn't that I'm

right that's not the point the point is

is that they get to have an hour where

someone actually tells them what they

think here's the impact you're having on

me this is making me angry this is

making me happy this is really

interesting this reminds me of something

that you said

our ago that I don't quite understand

and the whole point is not for either

person to make the proposition or

convince the other that their position

is correct but merely to have an

exchange of experience about how things

are set up and it's extraordinarily

useful for people because it's often

difficult for anyone to find anyone to

talk to that will actually listen and so

another thing that's really strange

about this listening is that if you

listen to people they will tell you the

weirdest bloody things so fast you just

cannot believe it so if you're having a

conversation with someone and it's dull

it's because you're not listening to

them properly because they're weird

they're like warm bats or albatrosses or

rhinoceroses or something like there's

strange creatures and so if you are

actually communicating with them and

they were telling you how weird they

really are it would be anything but

boring and you can ask questions that's

a really good way of listening but one

of Rogers points is well you have to be

oriented properly in order to listen and

the orientation has to be look what I

want out of this conversation is that

the place we both end up is better than

the place we left that's it that's what

I'm after and if you're not after that

you got to think why the hell wouldn't

you be after that what could you

possibly be after that would be better

than that you walk away smarter and more

well-equipped for the world than you

were before you had the conversation and

so does the other person well maybe if

you're bitter and resentful and angry

and anxious and you know generally

annoyed at the world then that isn't

what you want you want the other person

to walk away worse and you too because

you're full of revenge but you know

you'll get what you want if you do that

so we know from our research that such

empathic understanding understanding

with a person not about them is such an

effective approach that it can bring

about major changes in personality some

of you may be feeling that you listen

well to people and that you have never

seen such results the chances are very

great that you have not been listening

in the manner that I've described

fortunately I can suggest a little

experiment that you can do to test the

quality of your understanding the next

time you get into an argument with your

wife or your friend or a small group of

friends stop the discussion for a moment

and for an experiment Institute

this rule each person can speak up for

himself only after he has first restated

the ideas and feelings of the previous

speaker accurately what accurately means

is they have to agree with your

Restatement now that's an annoying thing

to do because if someone is talking to

you and you disagree with them the first

thing you want to do is take their

argument make the stupidest possible

thing out of it that you can that's the

straw man and then demolish it it's like

so then you can walk away feeling good

about it and you know you've dominated

them really nicely but that isn't what

you do you say okay well I'm gonna take

what you told me and maybe I'm even

gonna make your arguments stronger than

the one you made that's useful if you're

dealing with someone that you have to

live with because maybe they can't

bloody well express themself very well

but they have something to say so you

make their arguments strong alright then

you see what this would mean it would

mean that before presenting your own

point of view would be necessary for you

to really achieve the other speakers

frame of reference to understand his

thoughts and feelings so well that you

could summarize them for him sounds

simple doesn't it but if you'll try it

you'll find that it's the most difficult

thing that you've ever done