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Tap into the Worlds of Other People

March 6, 2019 Joe Mechlinski

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It’s easy to criticize other people’s words and actions. 

When we take the time to stand in their world, we can appreciate that they face their own struggles and challenges. 

Everything becomes relative. Suddenly, our empathy, patience, and tolerance are increased.

In college, I was playing football and struggling through my classes, all while taking care of my mother. I was also running several businesses, one of them a house-painting company. One day, I had to be at two places at one time. A lot of money was on the line, and I needed someone to run an errand for me, so I could meet a potential client. I made some calls to friends and partners, but nobody was available. Finally, I turned to my roommate and football teammate, a kid who was busy smoking and drinking his way through school.

I explained to him that I was in a bind, and I’d truly appreciate it if he could pick up an order from the paint store for a project that was scheduled to start later that day. I told him I’d pay him for his time and would even throw in dinner and a six-pack.

This roommate, who woke up at two in the afternoon every day, looked up at me and said, “No, I’m really busy today.”

At the time, I was quite pissed at him and ended up not talking to him for weeks. Years later, a different perspective leads me to a different, more charitable response. The stress my roommate felt was real to him. There must’ve been something going on in his head and life, some type of pressure or anxiety, that made him want to drink and smoke all day. He was genuinely stressed out, and the task I was throwing at him probably did feel like more than he could handle.

Engagement is about connecting through the heart brain and absorbing the energy that is emitted from the people around us. 

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