The first step toward progress is unity—not victory.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Donald Trump set a wonderful example of this principle last week.

The two met after a public spat took place in response to Ryan’s declaration that he was not ready to support Trump in his bid for the White House, according to CNN.

When the two met together Thursday morning, both appeared to want to get to know each other and move toward their common goal together.

“We come from different wings of the party,” Ryan said Wednesday. “The goal here is to unify the various wings of the party around common principles so that we can go forward unified.”

Ryan and Trump gave a joint statement after their meeting that indicated their meeting had been a positive experience.

“While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground,” they wrote in a joint statement. “We will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there’s a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal.”

Though Ryan did not say he suddenly endorses Trump as the Republican nominee, he did say he felt very encouraged by their first meeting.

As citizens of the United States of America, we each need to make unity—not victory—our goal, and Ryan and Trump provided a good pattern for Americans to follow.

As a disclaimer, we are not suggesting that one needs to be a Republican or be supportive of either Trump or Ryan in order to benefit from the example they set.

We could all learn a thing or two from their efforts to work together instead of against each other.

First, the two approached their meeting hoping to truly understand the other person, as they both mentioned they wanted to get to know the other better.

Second, the two were honest about the differences they did have and didn’t pretend they didn’t exist.

Third, while acknowledging their differences, the two established their similarities and focused on working together to reach their common goal.

Throughout this process, neither claimed to have had the intention of attacking the other person or winning any type of argument.

The first step toward progress is unity—not victory.

If we want the United States to progress from its current state, we need to focus on that.

In a democracy that flourishes because of its free market of ideas, there are bound to be people with a variety of views. That’s one of the beauties of our country.

However, just because we have wide access to a variety of ideas does not mean we take the time to try and understand why those ideas exist.

This is where Steven Covey’s advice in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” comes into play.

If we can understand why someone has the opinion they have, we can discover both the context behind their thinking and perhaps even find some value in their idea.

More likely than not, we will also find some type of common ground.

In other words, we will find a cause in which we can unite and work together to reach a common goal.

We may have different ideas of how to reach the common goal, but the more options that are available, the easier it is to determine which is the best one.

The first step toward progress is unity—not victory.