Do You See What I See? – Why Perspective Is Essential To Progress

In All, Lifehacks, Success by Eddie Pinero

The saying goes, “To best understand someone, put yourself in their shoes.” This goes way back. It was deeply rooted in my development as a child, as I grew up and came to terms with the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around me. I began to forge decisions around the impact they would have on myself as well as others. In doing so I quickly learned, as most children do, that considering someone else’s point of view is not only thoughtful, but also essential to my own wellbeing. For example, I probably shouldn’t punch little Timmy in the face because 1) little Timmy wouldn’t enjoy being punched in the face and 2) the repercussions would negate the pure joy I’d get from doing so.

Simple enough. But then we get older, and as we develop, context changes. I rarely find myself discussing Power Rangers anymore and would be much more inclined to discuss sports, politics, or current events. It’s been a long time since I’ve traded baseball cards and have reallocated a lot of that time to growing a business. Same concepts, different scale. In all instances, the golden rule of perspective is still very much intertwined, just to a far greater extent now than on the playground 24 years ago. So why does it seem that our ability to think this way so quickly falls off the table? Why is the perspective of others, from our customers to our opponents, rarely taken into consideration?

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I’m eating breakfast, taking a stroll through the Twitterverse when I make an interesting observation: one out of every five tweets seems to be a stand-alone link to an ebook or product. Ok. I understand. You’ve worked hard creating something you’re proud of and want to share it, as you should! But here’s the deal. I don’t know you. To this point, you’ve provided no value to me nor anyone else. My incentive to click a link and spend three hours digesting advice from a complete stranger is minimal at best. And what pains me is that it would have taken only five seconds to put yourself in my position. Do you go around buying random products from unknown sources? No? Hey, neither do I! Reallocating some of your link posting resources to engaging customers and providing value would be a suitable adjustment.

I close twitter, shut my laptop down, and take a walk. Downtown there is a political protest/rally going on outside of an office building. I proceed without giving it too much thought before suddenly being screamed at and accused of coddling to the 1%. Pause. Might this lovely experience be included in a future blog post? Yes, and the time has arrived. Let me start by first pointing out that the idea of condemning ignorance by displaying ignorance doesn’t make much sense. Second, here is the thing about political ideology: it’s derived from one’s environment. Their backgrounds, beliefs, life experiences, and current conditions all converge to make up their views on the world. Bringing awareness to your politicized communication is impossible without making an effort to understand the views of others; not villainize, not condemn, but truly understand, which brings us right back to our golden rule: progress comes from putting yourself in the shoes of others. The odds of an individual embracing your political opinions after being randomly berated in public are extremely low. Even a minimal effort to see through someone else’s eyes would have most likely resulted in a different approach.

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Those were just a few quick examples, but I hope they clearly articulate the point I am trying to make. In business, sports, and all other aspects of life, very few things are as advantageous as considering perspectives aside from your own. What would I want as a customer? What would I do as a competitor? What would make me happy as a friend? Making this thought process a habit not only improves relationships, but it makes you more effective and your work more impactful.

By Eddie Pinero @yourworldwithin