“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own points of view.” — Obi Wan Kenobi
I love this Star Wars quote, one of many, actually.
Universal Truth about Points of View
But in this case, it really struck me as a universal truth. As author Dale Carnegie explains in How to Win Friends and Influence People, people do not normally do things because they think they are wrong, but rather because they think they are in the right because, from their point of view, they are.
We know that a cup with liquid taking up half the volume can be viewed as half-full, or half-empty — we often use that phrase to illustrate optimism versus pessimism. However, if we just analyze the phrase for its inherent logic, we can see that both statements ARE true, but only from a certain point of view.
A cup can be half-full of liquid, from the frame of reference of how much “content” we have. At the same time, a half-filled cup is also a half-empty, from the frame of reference of the total cup volume.
How I Apply the Points of View Principle
- Personal and Professional – When I hear a complaint from either a client, or even my honey, I bite my tongue from wanting to respond right away. Instead, I take the stance that they are right, from their point of view. And from there, I try to arrive at a resolution that will be satisfactory for all parties involved.
- Parenting – When the kids are voicing their wants, I listen and I think of why they feel so strongly about whatever it is they want, and how I can leverage that to guide them to, and teach them things I feel is important.
- World/Current Events – When I listen to politicians on the news, be it the local city supervisors, or the U.S. President, or foreign powers, I take into account their points of view. As such, I can understand why foreign terrorists feel the need to do what they do — I don’t condone it, but I understand, but I also know there has to be a better way to peace. On a local level, I can understand why we have developers versus environmentalists, renters versus landlords, etc.
Important Component to Critical Thinking
Anyway, I just wanted to point out that understanding points of view is an important, critical component to critical thinking.
I hope you see my point.
If you’ve been in a memorable situation where you’ve seen valid points of view, I’d love to hear them.