How to Understand: 3 Fundamentals from the Last 2400 Years

1. Take notice of what others may teach you about yourself.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
Carl Jung
What we see in others is quite often what we see in ourselves. And what irritates us in people may be what we don’t like in ourselves. What you judge in someone you are actually judging in yourself.
Therefore what you notice and what irritates you in others can teach you important things about yourself. Things you may not be aware of.
In a way people can be like a mirror for you.
They can be a mirror that can help you to learn more about yourself, what you fear and how you may be fooling yourself.
2. Look at the aspirations to understand the heart.
“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”
Kahlil Gibran
A person may not have done as much as he or she had hoped for just yet. But a big and exciting part of a person does lies in his or her dreams.
What does he or she aspire to?
Dream about during the lunch break?
Put in work on during evenings and weekends?
Yes, many of the things people dream about may not become more than dreams. Or a dream may end up in a positive way but not quite in the way that someone had originally planned for.
However the dreams turn out they still say much about the people and what is deep within their hearts.
And that’s quite often more fascinating – and surprising – than what they work with or where they live.
3. You must do to understand.
The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
Tom Bodett
“There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.”
Charles F. Kettering
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
The Chinese proverb above is very much true in my experience.
You cannot understand something by reading about it on a blog or in a book. You may think you understand something.
But it’s not until you try it in your own life that you know how it feels and you get the full experience.
That is one of the reasons why it’s crucial that you take action.
No matter how many books you read on a topic you need to add real life experience to understand yourself and life.
Plus, it’s also often in real life that you learn the quickest, because here you have access to great feedback like making mistakes and encountering temporary failure.