I like to understand people. I like to understand myself. You may think that's easy. All you have to do is listen to the words. Listen to what people say. Listen to my own thoughts.
Words are shorthand for constellations of thoughts, beliefs, desires, and emotions. On the surface I want to be rich says I want to have a lot of money. Material things are important to me. What the words mean is more likely to be I want to feel secure. I want to be independent. I want to have the freedom to not go to work tomorrow. I want to be respected. I want to be somebody. I want to be able to give my wife jewelry.
Many, if not most, disagreements and internal conflicts, occur when we listen to the words. Pay attention to the words. They are the beginning point of understanding. But even more importantly, pay attention to what is behind the words. Without understanding what you really want, you'll pursue goals that, at best, don't lead to happiness, and at worst, are destructive. Without understanding what your neighbor is really saying, you'll be interacting with an illusion built up in your own mind.