Do you possess a pair of ‘Like me’ goggles? Have you worn them lately? ‘Like me’ goggles are actually imaginary, but they represent a very real tendency for us all to see the world from our own point-of-view. Recently I was reminded of a totally true story that has a tenuous link to a painting rhinoceros. The story explains ‘Like me’ goggles and the potential impact of failing to see the world form someone else’s point-of-view.
The day had an uneventful start and I had stopped at a supermarket to pick up a lunchtime sandwich. Without getting into too much detail I had parked across the road from the store, and not in their carpark. When I stepped out of my car I was confronted by a very angry and very agile homeowner, she had appeared from nowhere and caught me by surprise. I can’t include her actual words, but she was extremely aggressive and in mid-tirade of a whole bunch of expletives. The essence of which was that there is a supermarket carpark provided and I should therefore not park outside her house.
Perhaps due to her manner, my initial reaction was that this lady was wrong on every level. I had parked legally and I was sure that should a police officer happen by, I would be completely blameless of any offence. Although I felt I had done nothing wrong, I could clearly see her view of the world and I could also anticipate the repetitive stream of supermarket visitors coming and going. I had been able to take off my ‘Like me’ goggles and wondered if I should help her take off hers. I could mention Ronnie the rhino in my attempt to explain a different view of the world on parking, offensive language, acceptable greetings and even street-fighting! However, I concluded that her emotions were too high, so I simply chose to move my car.
If you take another look at the picture of Ronnie the rhino painting his masterpiece you can see it demonstrates that we can fall foul of interpreting the world from only our own point-of-view. The story helps us appreciate that this single perspective is not ideal and that it is likely to cause frustration and annoyance. Whilst not tested on this occasion, I believe we can also conclude that emotions don’t make it any easier to see another person’s perspective.
My summary is that taking off your ‘like me’ goggles and investing in the other person’s point-of-view can be both enlightening and rewarding, try it next time you face a disagreement. Don’t think about being right or wrong, just think about what’s different and attempt to understanding why someone else might see the world differently to you. #SuccessfulThinking