Walk A Mile In My Moccasins

Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his moccasins.

— Source: my mom, although usually attributed to Native American sources but could be from ancient Rome and may have roots in Christ’s teaching in the Bible.

Even though this quote is an oldie but a goodie, it seemed fitting for my three day run with aphorisms on empathy. Loosely defined, empathy is the capability to share and understand another person’s emotions and feelings.

I believe that empathy is one of the most powerful tools in leadership, business, and life. By putting yourself in “the other person’s shoes” you can have richer interactions and make better decisions on every front. I am much more effective as a leader if I imagine how my style and actions are perceived by those I am endeavoring to lead. The products that I create or the services that I provide are much more valuable if put myself inside the mind of my customers as I create and deliver them.

Misunderstanding Others

It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.

— Karl A. Menninger, The Human Mind

This quote is a more poetic version of the one I posted yesterday that said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

According to Dr. George Watson at the University of Delaware, Karl Menninger was an early psychoanalyst who was probably referring to the criminal mind in this quote. Dr. Watson provides an expanded context of the quote.