Seek to Understand

Life gives you lemons pic


For those of you who have read Stephen Covey, you will recognize the title from his book “The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People”.

“Seek to Understand” is Habit Number 5, and talks about really listening to people, to really understand them.  Most people listen with the intent to reply,  not to truly understand them.

Listening to understand is a fantastic habit and one I will probably write about later, but for today I am bringing this one a stage closer to home by asking:

  • How well do we seek to understand ourselves?
  • How well do we listen to ourselves?

Going right back to the Greek philosophers’ times, they suggested that humans are, in fact, deeply unconscious and automatic creatures who sleepwalk through life.

Quite a bald suggestion but how true is it?  How conditioned are we?

I shall use myself as an example. My understanding as I grew up was this tick list of life landmarks:

  • Go to school and pass exams
  • Go to college and pass exams
  • Go to university and get a degree (epic fail on that one as I gained 2 Ds and an E at college so no university for me)
  • Start perfect lifelong career
  • Meet a man and buy a house
  • Get married
  • Have children

The list goes on.

I must say that from college onwards my tick list of landmarks varied in order of appearance and I added a whole lot more to it (and long may I add to it). Plus a few curve balls have been thrown at me for good measure.

As humans we all have dreams and aspirations of what we would like to achieve and these dreams may change over time as we grow and develop.

There is huge variety in these dreams as it depends on the individual and the area of their life they are thinking about.  We have so many options available to us but dare we take them?

So coming back to seek to understand – ask yourself this:

If it didn’t impact anyone – what would I like to be?

Take time to enquire of yourself on this one and think of your heart’s desire.

When you have that answer write it down.

Then you have something to work towards and it enables you to start striving to live your heart’s true desire.

It doesn’t mean it will happen immediately, but by listening to yourself it gives you a cracking start point. You can then start to plan.

As an example – Two of my heart’s desires were (and are!) as follows:

  • I want to be a Massage Therapist
    I was an Area Mortgage Sales Manager for a large bank with my 15 year career in Financial Services and mum to my then two year old boy.  I went back to college at night, re-trained, qualified, set up my own business working evenings and weekends whilst continuing to be an Area Mortgage Sales Manager until my business was financially viable.  It is one of the best moves I ever made. At times through the journey I questioned my sanity, but I knew my heart’s desire. I adore my work and it doesn’t feel like “a job”
  • I want to be healthy
    I had ballooned in weight and had a lot of health issues. I went from a size 16 to a healthy lean size 8 and the health issues I was experiencing have gone with the weight.

Both are ongoing, both are hard work, and both have needed help and support from others as I strive to improve.  Both make me happy and, interestingly, “healthy” was not on my original tick list and the other took a while but I am on the right career path for me now.

So I ask you to ask yourself again:

If it didn’t impact anyone – what would I like to be?

Write it down and remember this (I love a good quote)

“Because you are alive, anything is possible” – Thich Naht Hanh

Eve Patti –  Simply Ripping Feb 2014


7 Habits for Highly Effective People by Dr Stephen R Covey

Philosophy For Life And Other Dangerous Situations by Jules Evans


Massage Therapist. Meditation and Mindfulness Instructor. Mum. Love cooking, Lifting Weights, Appreciating the best in people, Walking barefoot and Smiling.

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