Sometimes we are so caught up in our own preconceived views on how the world is that we have difficulties to see things from any other perspective than our own. It is therefore useful from time to time to be reminded that the world is not black and white, but have endless gray nuances, and that the same situation may look very different from another viewpoint.
I stumbled upon the following very illustrative story (original author unknown).
One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the countryside for the sole purpose of showing him how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a poor family.
After their return from the trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. “It was great, Dad,” the son replied. “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah,” said the son. “So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.
The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond the sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”
The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “It showed me just how poor we really are.”
So from time to time, especially regarding issues that are controversial, try to take a step back and “force yourself” to explore alternative perspectives to your own immediate position.
This is especially important when entering into any type of negotiation. Only when you manage to see the situation with the eyes of your counterpart, you will be able to reach a solution that would be long-term satisfactory to both parties.