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Philosopher Immanuel Kant claimed that we all learn from experience based on pre-defined a priori categories (arrogant, American, insecure etc.). While another philosopher, David Hume, disagreed with Kant and claimed that our interaction is entirely based on past experiences, we can’t dismiss the concept that we communicate with one another based on model categories. Stereotypes are prevalent and powerful forces that affect the way we listen and understand each other’s “models”. However, models can be false or inaccurate (“He seems arrogant because he reminds me of a person from his city/school/country…”). We should strive towards minimizing the difference between our “model” and the actual reality. Again, the fundamental solution to most of the issues we face is to talk to each other. 

There are, however, 4 levels of talking. Level 4 is the most efficient level in solving misunderstandings.

Level 1 – “Talking Over” (Pontificating) – Think about a pompous presenter:

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Level 2 – “Talking At” – Talking directly and aggressively to someone:

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Level 3 – “Talking To” – Ordinary (coffee) chat:

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Level 4 – “Talking With” – Deeper connection, more than just words. It is not just about sharing facts, it is more about sharing deep aspirations and really learning from the other side’s sincere and honest opinion. You might lose sense of time.

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You will only be successful and fulfilled if your objectives are well-defined. Specify these as much as possible.

It is critical that you define your fundamental (metaphysical) objectives. These are based on your concrete (means) objectives.It is paramount that your concrete and fundamental objectives are in line. To achieve this you have to find your core decision values (things that matter). An useful exercise to define your decision values and hence your fundamental objectives is “The Script”.

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The Script is done in couples. Party A asks “What do you want?” Party B answers “I want...”. Part A asks “Why is this important to you?”, Party B answers “It is important because…”, Party A asks again “Why is this important to you?”, Party B answers and so on and on until no further progress can be made. The last answer represents your fundamental objective. Based on this you can define your concrete objectives.

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