One thing that I believe escapes a good many of us is understanding that everyone looks at life with different perspectives.  When you understand that each person looks at things differently, then you can enlighten your perspective to be much more forgiving.


Perspectives Are Built Over A Lifetime

We learn everyday throughout our whole lives.

The first thing that you need to realize is that each individual’s perspective is built throughout their lifetimes by their unique experiences.  Much like learning not to touch something that is hot, whether it be from listening to warnings or by having accidently touched something that was.

Life is all about trial and error, as we try things (and make mistakes) we learn what does and does not work for us.  With each trial we build upon how we perceive things and it is those perceptions that will guide us through our decision making processes.

I am sure you have heard the phrase that you learn something new everyday right?  Well just think about that…  every moment we are alive and conscious we are taking in all of the information from our environment and learning from it.  Whether we realize it or not, everything that we experience becomes a part of us and who we are, helping to determine how we react in the future.

How Two People Can Perceive the Same Thing Differently

Each witness gave their story to the police through their own perception.
Each witness gave their story to the police through their own perception.

So how is it that two people can perceive the same thing or situation differently? Let’s take for example that a couple walking down the street witnesses a man stealing a woman’s purse and run off.

A little bit later when speaking to the cops, the couple is split up and each person gives their side of the story to the cop that they are working with.  The man describes the suspect as a short, thin man with long hair.  The woman describes the suspect as a tall, heavier man with short hair.

So how is it that a couple that witnessed the same thing can describe a person so differently?  Well, let’s take a more in depth look at the whole story.  First off let us look at the couple.  The man is tall, a little over weight, and has a shaved head. The woman is short, thin, and has long hair.  Taking this into consideration, each party of the couple compared the suspect to them selves to describe him and therefore came up with two descriptions on opposite ends of the scale.

As you can see here you sometimes have to look at the larger picture and get more details to get an accurate view of what is really going on.  This is why it is so important not to rush to judgement on any situation as you need to carefully consider not only your perspective, but how other people may have perceived it as well.

Put Yourself Into Someone Else’s Shoes

Before you react, put yourself in their shoes and think about it from their perspective.

As you continue to grow and enlighten your mind and perspective, one of the most valuable skills that you can learn is how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  If you are not familiar with that phrase, what I am saying is that when dealing with other people it is important to understand their perspective as well.

For most of my working life I have been in a customer service / sales type of role.  I developed this skill over time as it was an invaluable one for helping people, especially when it came to helping an upset customer.  This was especially true when I was in the Mobile Phone Industry as people would often come to the store upset that their phone was not working as they thought it should.  I would always do my best to see their side of the story so that I could get to the root cause of what was upsetting them and that made it much easier to address and resolve the problem.

In order to do this you need to learn how to listen to what the other person is saying and then imagine how you would feel if you were saying it.  For example lets use a time from when I was in the Mobile Phone industry:

“One day an elderly couple came into our store upset about their billing.  I took the time to listen to what they had to say without interrupting them, saving my questions until the end.  Once they had told me their side of the story I thought about the situation for a moment and put myself into their shoes.  I know just how frustrating it can be when your bills don’t make sense.  I also was able to determine from listening to them exactly how I wanted to approach resolving the situation.

I printed out a copy of their billing since they had started services with us which was about 6-8 months prior to the current time.  I started at day one with them and walked through each bill and payment.  In doing that I was clearly able to show them exactly where the missed payment was and now they understood why their billing looked like it did.  They were very thankful that I listened to them and was able to clearly demonstrate what had happened.”

As you can see, I was able to relate to the frustrations that they were having by putting myself in their shoes.  Also then, I was able to explain what had happened in a clear and concise way that they were able to understand.  I was able to take them from being upset to having the situation resolved in a very positive manor.

Funny Thing About Perspectives

How would you describe yellow without relating it to an object?
How would you describe yellow without relating it to an object?

One funny thing about perspectives is that each of us has our own unique version of what we would call the facts or truths.  The easiest way I can think of to explain this would be by sharing a small story per say.

Imagine if you would that you are speaking with a person that has been blind since birth and they ask you to describe the color yellow to them.  Think about that for a second, how would you ever describe a color to someone that does not know what colors look like, or can even see objects to be used to relate the color to?  You can’t say oh well yellow is what a banana or a school bus looks like now can you?

To take it a step further, lets realize that colors are subjective to all of us.  What this means is what I perceive as yellow might be a bit different from what you describe as yellow.  I have always had access to a lot of crayons and paints throughout my life and often find myself using the names of them to describe various shades of colors.  However, not everyone has that same experience so when I say something like that house is a nice Canary Yellow you may not have any idea what that really means.  I have my own perception of exactly what that means and the only way for me to explain it to anyone would be to actually show them what I mean.

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