I was fortunate enough to have been able to play some major college baseball back in my days at The University of Detroit. It gave me the opportunity to go to college and to meet a lot of interesting people. About five years ago, I met up with one of those interesting people who I had not spoken to for over 3o years.
When my teammate and I spoke on the phone it was very pleasant. We shared work history, family history, and talked about friends and family we had lost. Then, one thing totally consumed our conversation- an event that happened at the University of Michigan in 1978. I was a graduate assistant coach for the team that year, and was closely involved in ALL aspects of the game. My friend was totally consumed by every little detail about this event, where as I had absolutely ZERO recollection of that day at all. I mean, I remember not one thing he discussed, and he assured me, I WAS there….
Now, what happened that day 37 years ago now is not important, as a matter of fact, I still do not remember it. What is important is how one person can be effected by an event and another person experiencing the same event is phased so little that they do not remember it all. Why can some people see the beauty of an incredible rose and the other see nothing but thorns on a stem? Where one can smell the incredible fragrance of the flower and the other can only smell the pungent odor of the fertilizer- the manure that was used in the flower bed?
All this brings me to Mr. Carnegie’s Human Relations principle #17: Try HONESTLY to see things from the other person’s point of view. This does not say to walk in the other person’s moccasins, though many align those together. That can only make your feet hurt if their shoes do not fit you. What this says is to SEE things HONESTLY from that person’s point of view, because, as the story above shows, we can experience the same stimuli and come away with a completely different take.
In life and in business, we are subject to events on a constant basis- little incidents that make up every day of our lives. We experience those incidents with many others, yet too often we judge them solely through our own eyes. “Why doesn’t she want to buy my product?”, “Why does that cost so much?”, “What does that person think they are doing driving so slow?” It is a constant barrage of decisions that need to be made, of thoughts that stream through our brains like the crawl at the bottom of the Weather Channel. So why do some of us react so differently than others? I cannot answer that, and yet, I write a blog about it. Herein lays my point.
It is NOT important to know the why; it is important to try and see the point of view. We need to use our minds to see life from someone else’s vantage point, much like viewing life from that person’s GOPRO camera. The key is to do it HONESTLY. Don’t just look at their point of view and immediately decipher it through your view, spend some time thinking and pondering the reason they may have had that reaction or response.
I am approaching 60 years of age really quickly and I work with people in their mid 20’s. If the only way I saw what we were doing was through my BABY BOOMER view, I would be lost! The 20 something millennial has a completely different take on the same stimuli. I must spend time looking at their point of view. Do I have to agree? No, just try hard to understand their way of seeing life.
So, when you see things from the others point of view, and you do it honestly, the benefit to you will be that you may have a better understanding of the other person’s view on the issue at hand. You also might inspire that person to spend more time trying to understand your point of view. As Mr. Carnegie said, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”