I have done complete posts on several of the 147 tips from the Seven Sages of Greece. There is a booklet presently in progress titled Love Your Life which discusses various strategies for coping with life. The book is loosely based on those ancient tips, but those tips were at the foundation of Western Civilization and so they do have a record of stimulating success. They are mundane tips but they do convey common-sense to an uncommon degree.
Tip #115, Before you speak think kind thoughts. This is a simple idea but it is helpful in keeping conversations on a path for mutual satisfaction with your friends and in group conversations where there is always a problem with getting the conversational floor. Of course, we usually get involved with what is being discussed and we want to get our ideas infused into the flow of ideas. Typically there will be several people trying to talk at the same time and we are pulled in multiple directions as things progress.
At times when the conversation is bringing forth strong thoughts and emotions, it is important to maintain an appropriate demeanor. Conversations that have unusual and sharp distinctive points of view are the very ones where you can gain the most intellectual development. If everyone you encounter is in perfect agreement with you, there may be mild and friendly interactions but not much fun or personal growth. I attend some groups where there isn’t much agreement, but we usually have a good time exchanging ideas. We make an effort to make our conversations about ideas and try to avoid personal acrimony, and that is where the idea of maintaining kindly thoughts becomes important. When we remember that the other person has a huge backlog of experience that brings them to their worldview and their statements about that worldview are heartfelt and important to them, we should give them respect.
Of course, they are wrong. They are always wrong! Except it is we who are wrong because we are not seeing the depth of experience that is bringing them to their beliefs. If we did see as they see we would be in agreement with them. Of course, that is impossible because we must come to the moment with our huge baggage of history and ingrained habits.
These thoughts could be amplified, but the point must return to the idea of treating others better than we treat ourselves. That means that we must step back just a little bit and give the other person the space they need to be themselves. When we do that tiny thing we are helping these other people to live their lives more fully. The cost to our person is minute and is actually a moment of personal growth when we are able to treat others better than we treat our own self. To gain the benefits of this course of action …
Before you speak think kind thoughts.