Improve Your Life #6: Consider the Point of View of Others

Thursday 25th, April 2013 / 18:39Written by
Improve Your Life #6: Consider the Point of View of Others

Whether you want to make your child eat vegetables or convince the client sign off on a big purchase it is important to understand what motivates their actions. Understanding the motivation behind the decision of others will give you tools to sway them in your direction. Understanding the point of view of your opponent will also save you a lot of frustration and even anger.

Detaching yourself from your own view will give you perspective you do not have when clinging to your own position try in to protect it and convince the other side. Try to step out of the situation and see the issue as a neutral bystander.

If you can see the motivation behind the arguments of the other side you will be better equipped to offer solutions that satisfy their needs. You do not have to agree with their point of view, you may think that it is wrong or stupid or both, but before you understand you are not able to work out the solution.

Judging others wrong or stupid means you don’t understand how their reasoning works. The point of view usually arises from the set of facts through some kind of reasoning. Understanding that may help you point out that the facts are wrong or incomplete and the reasoning may be flawed. Of course there’s the other side that your facts may be off and reasoning faulty. Considering the other side may reveal that to you.


Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action. ~~Daniel Goleman

But you have to be ready to accept that people don’t want their point of view changed. Research shows that we are incredibly skilled at ignoring the facts that contradict our position.

You may be surprised but there’s no law that says people have to share your opinion. Shocked? I know! Get a grip and try to understand why people act the way they do. Instead of becoming frustrated, irritated, or angry, become a collector of different points of views. You will expand your mental horizon, be more emphatic and less stressed / hurt / disappointed.

Now go ahead try to understand the point of view of a child not wanting to eat vegetables.


Image: Frogs 2 by Andrzej Pobiedziński
Image: Daniel Goleman – Pop!Tech 2009 – Camden, ME by PopTech

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