As I grow older, I become more and more committed to having hard conversations. More committed to asking people to share their views and the values that shape them. I’ve never regretted respectfully listening and probing to better understand. I’ve even changed my mind about a few important things.

I understand that we all see some things and are blind to others based on the filters we inherit and cultivate over time. Not one of us has the full handle on truth. Not one. Listening allows me to honestly examine my own motives and blind spots. It communicates to others that I care, and sometimes they’re even willing to listen back. When I speak an opinion, it’s because I sense that an important part of a conversation is missing or is not being adequately considered.

People are people, and each person’s perspective has value and underlying reasons that may remain hidden to me—unless I ask. I’ve never met anyone I had nothing to learn from.