Early in my career as a Software Engineer (I believe I was an intern at the time), a seasoned manager called over the cubicle wall asking what I thought about some matter that involved another group. I don’t recall the specifics of the topic, but I very clearly recall my answer and his response. Trying to sound sure of myself, I said “I try not to look at the world from other people’s perspective”. His response was a simple “Well, sometime you have to…”
After a period of silence, I heard him repeat under his breath as if he had been pondering, “…sometimes you have to”.
Empathy, compassion, kindness. Those are the things that come to mind when one looks at the world from another’s perspective. I contemplate the weight of that often.
My father often says in a whimsical tone, “If everybody was the same, nobody would be different”. I find that to be both hilarious… and eye-opening. It’s especially humorous in the colloquial “feverbidy’s da same, nobidy’d be dif’runt”. But even the Appalachian vernacular doesn’t make it any less poignant. The meat of the matter is this: What a boring world it would be if all of us were alike, had the same beliefs, and agreed on everything.
Now, while I may be tempted to leave this post all warm and harmonious and claim that we should all just get along… I just don’t believe that at all.
- There is a place for warmth, and yet there is also a place for coldness.
- There is a place for harmony, and yet there is also a place for discord.
But (and here’s my point today)… if you feel the need to be on the other side of warm and harmonious, then there is value in first looking at the world from the other guy’s perspective.
If you disagree, let me know in the comments. I wouldn’t expect everyone to agree with me.
After all… if everybody was the same, nobody would be different.