Let's put ourselves in someone else's shoes.

Everybody is right

Everybody is right.

These three words might sound controversial, so let me explain.

When I leave the room where my eight-month old son is playing, he believes I am abandoning him and he cries. He is absolutely right – I am abandoning him. Because this is the way he makes sense of the situation, from his perspective, he is right.

When a colleague argues a completely different opinion to mine on a topic we are both passionate about, they are right. And so am I.

See, we are all sense-makers. From our way of seeing the world, the sense we make of things is correct. And so from where we stand, what we do, say, think is right. Based on this, it would only seem normal for someone to jump and defend their point-of-view when facing antagonism. I have been guilty of this countless times (and I am certain it will happen again today, tomorrow, next week…).

Let's put ourselves in someone else's shoes.
Let’s put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

We learn through life the importance of putting oneself in the other person’s shoes, and so we also sometimes listen and may even start agreeing with someone else’s argument. I suspect, however, that this agreement only comes when we discover that their ideas somewhat align with our internal beliefs, values, experiences. We find a box where their opinion can fit.

How often do we really try to see and accept the value in a viewpoint that truly differs to ours?

Imagine how much we could learn and create together if we showed such openness!? Could it be the key to effective communication, people development and innovation? I suggest next time we face disagreement, we practice finding the true worth in the other’s position. Let’s give our perspective a big stretch and let in some new thinking… who knows where that will lead us.


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