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The key to understanding others' perspectives

Michael Jordan’s daughter Jasmine said the former Chicago Bulls great was deeply concerned about what the public would think of his actions when they saw The Last Dance. Matter of fact, he even considered against releasing the series. "He was concerned about the perception," she continues. "He was concerned that people weren't going to understand these were sacrifices. And he had to be that brute teammate or ask that much from everybody else to become great."

Leo Beenhakker, former Real Madrid, Netherlands and Trinidad and Tobago manager

"He's not just beating up Steve Kerr, beating up Ron Harper and constantly coming at Charles Oakley because it's fun," she explained. "He's doing it because he knows their potential and he's trying to pull it out." Jordan thought viewers may not understand the tough love he gave his teammates. We know that communication is one the most important skills in our everyday lives.In today’s busy world, everyone is in a hurry. We hardly pay attention or take the time to understand people close to us. We make superficial judgments without making the real effort to understand the reason behind people’s actions. Sometimes we all have this same approach with our colleagues, loved ones, family members and teammates. Understanding the mind of others means getting their perspective, instead of taking their perspective. We make judgments very easily but sometimes need to look deeper to see why certain actions were taken or words communicated.

Kevin Molino, Minnesota United and Trinidad and Tobago attacking midfielder I remember a training session with the Trinidad and Tobago during the 2013 Gold Cup in the United States when then director of football Leo Beenhakker was shouting to the players during a scrimmage. "You can talk with your eyes. You don't have to talk with bloody English but just with your eyes." It was his way of saying to Kevin Molino who was positioned near him that there was a better method to communicate with his teammate during the play instead of risking the teammare being unable to hear his words or the opponent picking up his instruction. The manner in which Beenhakker spoke, one would easily assume his tone was an angry one but it was not. Beenhakker would later say to me, "It is more or less the same history especially with the younger guys like Joevin Jones and Molino and this category. I had the same experience in 2005,2006.  You can see that they have a lot of talent but they still make too much mistakes. I think they can be much better. They have the quality and the potential."  In other words he felt he had to use a strong approach to get more out of them and it was evident in the way he constantly communicated with them regardless of whether his body language and tone may have suggested otherwise to some. In sport, specifically in relation to interaction among teammates and coaches, this is an underlying challenge. And it’s the same for those in other aspects of life, be it away from the sporting arena as well. Understanding others is more than just sensing other people’s feelings and emotions. It also means taking a genuine interest in them and their concerns. Contrary to popular opinion, human beings don't resist change. We all, however, resist being changed. It is important to understand who you are trying to influence. Coaches most times spend the time to get to understand their players or athletes and likewise teammates must do the same for those around them.  It is said that there is a universal scale of influence. Those three categories that people fall into  include 1.Someone who you look up to. 2 .Someone who sees themselves the same as you and thirdly someone that looks up to you. We all look up to we look up to professional and amateur athletes alike. We admire them for their extraordinary physical attributes and are amazed by their ability to stretch the limits of the human body. What most people overlook is the fact that these individuals are not born with the physical prowess and mental resilience they later display. There is a tremendous amount of preparation, skill development and communication that goes into all of this. Sport and performance psychologists play a key role here as they are experts in helping athletes and professionals overcome problems that impede performance. But athletes aren’t the only clients. Consider the rigors of performing surgery, for example. Doctors may need help gaining the confidence to return to the operating room after losing a patient. Actors or entertainers may need support getting back on stage following a poor reaction from fans. It’s  could be a hard skill to master. But take the time and effort to improve in this area. It will allow you to achieve the most important goal in almost any life which is connecting, deeply and honestly, to the other human beings around us. It helps us to keep pushing limits, to understand others’ beliefs, feelings, experiences and intentions. In the end, there ought to be benefits for everyone concerned. by Shaun Fuentes. Shaun is the Media Officer for the Trinidad and Tobago National Football Teams and was Media Officer of Leo Beenhakker's 2006 Trinidad and Tobago team at the FIFA 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany.

"From a motivation perspective, helping others enriches the meaning and purpose of our own lives, showing us that our contributions matter and energizing us to work harder, longer, and smarter." - Adam Grant


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