8.A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You
Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so. Don’t
condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant,
exceptional people even try to do that.
There is a reason why the other man thinks and acts as he does. Ferret out that reason -
and you have the key to his actions, perhaps to his personality. Try honestly to put
yourself in his place.
If you say to yourself, “How would I feel, how would I react if I were in his shoes?”
you will save yourself time and irritation, for “by becoming interested in the cause, we
are less likely to dislike the effect.” And, in addition, you will sharply increase your
skill in human relationships.
“Stop a minute,” says Kenneth M. Goode in his book How to Turn People Into Gold, “stop
a minute to contrast your keen interest in your own affairs with your mild concern
about anything else. Realize then, that everybody else in the world feels exactly the
same way! Then, along with Lincoln and Roosevelt, you will have grasped the only
solid foundation for interpersonal relationships; namely, that success in dealing with
people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other persons’ viewpoint.”
Sam Douglas of Hempstead, New York, used to tell his wife that she spent too much
time working on their lawn, pulling weeds, fertilizing, cutting the grass twice a week
when the lawn didn’t look any better than it had when they moved into their home
four years earlier. Naturally, she was distressed by his remarks, and each time he made
such remarks the balance of the evening was ruined.
After taking our course, Mr. Douglas realized how foolish he had been all those years.
It never occurred to him that she enjoyed doing that work and she might really
appreciate a compliment on her diligence.