Often times as people, we tend to look at life from this solitary perspective in which what we see is often the mindset we view life from. However, often times, the perspective we don’t see can be the most powerful perspective of them all. I started thinking about this tonight and here’s perhaps my best way of sharing that thought via example. It’s what I call developing an “Empathetic Perspective.”
So often, we open our eyes in the morning and we survey those around us. We can call it instinctual, we can call it judgmental, but ultimately it’s just a part of life. We all have this set of eyes we put on that allows us to take our perspective and view the world through that lens. However, it’s far more difficult to view that same world from someone else’s eyes. Some may call this empathy, but maybe we should call it reality. More often than not, people have a different perspective than us. So, our seemingly empathetic thoughts are simply reality looking us square in the face in our minds.
In life, it’s so easy to go about our daily lives thinking from our own window of thought. It makes sense to us, it lets us guide our decision making, and it lets us set a course for our lives. However, it’s important to realize that the lens we see the world from reflects an entirely different series of realties and events that made us who we are today. So often we call that “our perspective.” At the same time though, it’s often far more powerful when we can adopt someone else’s perceptive or even attempt to see the world from their point of view.
The Disney Parks Empathetic Perspective
Oddly enough, Disney is a good way for so many of us to wrap our minds around this and it’s ultimately why it came to my mind today. When we (the folks that have been blessed to tour the parks time and time again) think of Disney, we think of those memories in our mind that have occurred surrounding some type of attraction or some show, or even some particular resort. Those elements in/of the parks become so incredibly special to us because of the memories they bring to the forefront of our minds.
As a result, when Disney changes things, we tend to hit the invisible “panic button.” We look at it as if a piece of what created our memories and in turn our window of thought regarding the parks is disappearing. In doing so, we often fail to realize that what created memories for us may not be what resonates with guests today. It’s all about perspective. It’s about imagining the memories the new experience may create for someone else. The possibilities are endless.
The Empathetic Perspective in Daily Life
That frame of thought can so often be brought over into our daily lives. You see, when we show up at a grocery store, or start talking to someone new, we immediately look at their lives from our perspective. Imagine what would happen if we could find some way to adopt their perspective or at least consider it each and every time the opportunity arrises. It’s something to think about.
We often look at a person and our first impression of them is so surface level that it’s unbelievable. Then, when we get close to them we find out the good and often times the lesser desired elements of their personality. Everyone has been shaped by their experiences. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Disney vacation moment that creates an attachment to an attraction/theme park/resort element or if it’s someone who cheated on them, broke their heart, or a tough family situation they faced along the way that transformed their thinking. When we take the time to realize that people are the way they are and live from the perspective they live it’s powerful how much more we can appreciate someone.
I’m not saying I’m good this type of empathetic mindset (or rather a realistic mindset), but it’s important for us all to focus on and to be cognizant of why a person responds to things in the way that they do. It’s not only important to keep that mindset in mind as we look at the theme parks and being empathetic when changes are made, but it’s also important in our daily lives.
Think About Being on the Receiving End of this Empathetic Mindset
Imagine, just once, that you left your house today and every single person you met that day showed a genuine and heartfelt interest in who you were and what made you into the person you are today. Imagine what that day would look like and how appreciated you would feel at the end of the day.
So, why don’t we make an effort to do that for someone else even once a week, once a month, or even once a year? That’s a humbling reality, isn’t it?
There’s a quote that floats around and I don’t know who said it first but it goes something along the lines of “be the change you want to see in the world.” While I don’t think this is some grand solution to changing the world, I do think it can make us far happier individuals when we invest in understanding the lives of those around us. In the Disney space, it’s something for all of us to try and keep in mind when our nostalgia and memories tend to block out our ability to understand the perspectives of guests experiencing Disney for the first time.
Perspective matters (especially an Empathetic Perspective). Often times one of the greatest opportunities we have in life is to care about someone else. So much so that I wrote an entire article about it in: Showing People You Care About Them – A Reality That Disney Can Help Us With. We all have troubles when we invest in other people. Heck, I’ve been figuring out an issue in my own life with a friend for quite a while for this very reason. A difference in perspective. However, the toughest barriers you face can often be overcome when you start to look at life from the other person’s perspective. It wont be easy, but I know it’s worth it. Often times, they end up becoming one of the greatest blessings in your life.
To me, this concept is important both in the realm of Disney parks innovation, but also in our lives from day to day. Adopting someone else’s perspective, even for the briefest of moments, might just change your entire thought process. Don’t believe me? Try it!
I’m terrible at keeping this in the forefront of my mind, but there is something powerful about an empathetic perspective. Now, more than ever.
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Your Thoughts on this Empathetic Perspective
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