A few times recently I’ve seen examples of people unwilling or unable to see things from another person’s point of view. That prompted me to think about that ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and after that reflection I think it is one of my biggest strengths. I believe it helps me be more reasonable about decisions, see more options in any given situation, communicate better with all kinds of people, and build things that appeal to more people that just ones like me.

That leads me to two questions.

First, how do I convince others that seeing things from someone else’s point of view is a good thing, a sign of a strength and not of weakness. That seeing something from a different perspective and changing your mind is not a bad thing. I don’t know an answer to this other than “lead by example.”

Second, how does a person cultivate the ability to see these different perspectives? I think the best way is providing a variety of life experiences in vastly different situations. I’ve lived the life of a poor person, a rich person, an athlete, a nerd, a criminal, a good citizen, a soldier, and a pacifist. Putting yourself in foreign situations is a good thing even if it feels uncomfortable. But even if you can’t put yourself in all those different situations right now you can still notice how other people live. Listen to their stories without needing to tell your own.