You can never really understand a person until you stop to consider what they might be going through and put yourself in their shoes.

A few months ago, a driver came up from my left side and cut across in front of me, and I had to jam on my brakes to prevent an accident. I then saw him weave in and out of other cars and as he did I found myself becoming angrier and angrier. When the lights turned red, I decided to confront him. When he rolled down the window I could see he was visibly upset. He told me that the reason he was driving the way he was, was because his father had had a heart attack, and the hospital had advised him to get there as soon as possible. In that moment, my anger melted away and I felt guilty for having made a judgment without considering what may be going on in that man’s life.

We never really know what’s going on in other people’s lives, yet we make snap judgments all the time. Empathy is vital, not just for business but in life generally. When you find yourself annoyed at the behavior of others, take a second to think about what they might be going through before reaching a conclusion of your own. This technique will not only strengthen the judgments you make in business, but will make you happier as well.

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