Looking At Life Through the Eyes of Another

I'm a people watcher. I can sit at a mall or in a public park for hours and just watch people walk by. I love to watch how people interact with one another, how they laugh and how they cry. When I see someone crying, especially children, it makes me feel sad. My fascination is a mixture of curiosity and empathy.

Often we are so consumed with our own little world that it rarely occurs to us that every person on earth has their own story, their own history, their own joys and sorrows. As a writer I often have this urge to go uninvited to a table in the food court and ask that person to tell me their story. I suppose many people would think I was just weird, or the woman eating alone might think I was making a pass, so I resist the urge to ask. Still, I think each of us should try to expand our view of the world and try from time to time to look through the eyes of another.

We might want to start at home with our children and our spouse. Do we even know how the people closest to us experience the world? Do they view it as hostile, as inviting, as opportunity laden, or as a foe to be defeated?

I think that empathy enables us to be a better leader than we would be as an aloof, task only oriented person. At times even empathetic leaders have to make decisions that are painful--both to the person being affected and to ourselves--but we should make those decisions with compassion for those who are affected. If we have to fire someone one, they may effectively be removed from our "world" but their world goes on and we should be sensitive to that fact.