Categorized | Opinion

Seek First to Understand

By David Peel

Everyone has an opinion. In my injury cases, insurance companies will sometimes hire doctors to testify that the accident did not cause the pain they still have.

Usually this comes in the form of one of two opinions: (1) that the problems that the injured victim has were pre-existing the accident; (2) that the problems are from some new cause following the accident.

Recently, an opposing doctor stated that soft tissue injuries “should” heal within six months following the collision. Rather than attack that, my client’s doctors actually agreed with that statement.

But, I think the more relevant question is “did” it heal within six months. In this case, it did not. So, while my first instinct is to argue with people with whom I disagree, simply seeking first to understand what they’re really saying, can reveal something. Often, I see that we actually do not disagree with what they’re truly saying. The philosophical way of saying this is “seek first to understand and only then to be understood.”

This has application in our everyday life. Sometimes people will have an opinion and the first instinct is to recoil and disagree.  Instead, try asking what their opinion is based upon.

Here are two real life examples:

No. 1 Gun control 

Jenny says, “All AR -15 ‘s should be banned.”

“Why do you say that Jenny?”

Jenny says, “no one needs a ‘machine gun.’”

“Jenny, an AR-15 is not a machine gun…Machine guns, also called Fully Automatics, have been banned for decades.”

Jenny replies, “but they are Assault Rifles!”

“Why do you think that my friend?”

“AR stands for assault rifle, right?”

“Nope.”

No. 2 Biblical accuracy 

Jimmy says, “if you believe the Bible you are an idiot.”

“Why do you think that Jimmy?”

“It’s not even possible.”

“What’s impossible Jimmy?”

“Like Noah’s Ark!” Jimmy persists.

“It’s an amazing story. What’s impossible about it Jimmy?”

“There’s no way that two of every animal that has ever lived could ever fit on one big boat!! It’s stupid!” Jimmy concludes.

“I agree. But the Bible doesn’t say that. It says two of every “kind” likely meaning family types that can breed. So at least one pair of canines, felines, etc.”

“They still couldn’t fit!” Jimmy insists.

“Well how many kinds were they, how big on average and how big was the boat?”

“I don’t know any of that!”

“So, your position is that an unknown number of animals of unknown size cannot fit on a boat of unknown volume?”

Sometimes, understanding the basis of the other opinion is much more persuasive than any argument.   This week, seek first to understand.

Peel seeks justice for those injured in tractor trailer and car accidents, medical malpractice, and disability. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.

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