The skill we are all missing…
Have you ever met a person who can’t get off the topic of themselves? You probably don’t have a good feeling associated with their name, in fact you likely don’t enjoy being around them. Upon meeting they dive straight into the details of their lives and what is important to them, completely tuning you out. If you behave this way on a first date it’s safe to say there won’t be a next. The truth is we all know someone like this, and it may even be you.
There’s an old saying “walk a mile in his shoes”. If it’s not already clear to you it means that we should try to understand someone before criticizing or judging them. A common example of this in my field would be someone showing up late for their Jiu Jitsu class. I’ve made the mistake of punishing someone with push ups only to find out they were late because they lost their aunt and the funeral ran late. Imagine how terrible you would feel! This could have been avoided if I were to try and get some information about my student and why they were late. Another example is labelling a person as racist because they aren’t joining you in a protest or taking the fight to their social media. Without complete confirmation, you are you likely making the classic mistake that I and so many others have made of assuming you know what you’re talking about. In Scott Adams’ book Loserthink you will discover that humans oftentimes don’t know what they are talking about and are rarely right. Our desire to be right comes from the “fear of the unknown” which causes us to try and close the gap between unsure and sure. This can be great for urging us to solve problems but it can also make us seem like a fool at times.
The reason this is important for you to know is that life is made up of relationships. In business, in work, in career and in love life. If you are not trying to develop empathy, even towards those with opposing views, you will eventually become trapped in a bubble of people with the same view as you. A less than ideal learning environment. So before you start pointing the finger, try to understand why people make the decisions they do. Is there something you can change, is there something you can do for them, do they understand something that you don’t? These are the questions that should be taking up your mental space if you are trying to climb life’s ladder. I can honestly say as soon as I started to apply this way of thinking my life almost instantly became richer and so will yours. You will have better and more meaningful relationships which will result in a happier, more fulfilling life.