Merely thinking yourself into someone else’s position is only so effective.
You need to put yourself in their shoes to truly appreciate their experience.
Author and entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli writes in his book The Art of the Good Life
that he never appreciated the amount of work mothers do until he and his wife had twins, and he had to look after the babies by himself.
As he puts it: “After half a day I was more exhausted than after a ten-day business trip.”
Dobelli admits that plenty of mothers had previously told him how challenging caring for babies can be. And there are numerous books with parenting advice.
“Yet all that had left me cold. Only by doing could I begin to understand.”
For Dobelli, the key to reaching this deeper understanding is acknowledging that there’s a difference between thinking and doing.
Once you accept that thinking and doing are separate activities, you can put that knowledge to practical use.
Dobelli recommends briefly walking around in other people’s shoes with all of your important relationships. For example, your partner, clients, and employees.
“Role reversal is by far the most efficient, quick, and cost-effective way of building mutual understanding.”