Perspectives on a Train

kids on the train

Getting on a crowded NYC subway car, you feel a push in the back.  Angry, you turn around, about to give the pusher a piece of your mind.

But when you turn around, you see the person who pushed you is on crutches and is struggling as he gets on the subway car.  Do you feel differently?  I’ll bet you do – you probably don’t feel angry anymore, and may even offer to help that person.

This story captures the power of perspective and its ability to influence how we interpret and react to situations. The push in the back is the same in either case. But whether we view it as the act of a selfish passenger or a person stumbling makes all the difference in the world.

It makes sense that perspective matters, a concept captured in many aphorisms like “where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit” or “don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” and many others.  You can learn strategies for consciously shifting your own perspective (temporarily) to help you negotiate and communicate more effectively.  Check back here for more tips.