“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that who cares?… He’s a mile away and you’ve got his shoes!” – Billy Connelly
Have you ever been waiting patiently in line to make a purchase and someone jumps the queue? Or maybe you are walking up the stairs at a train station or your work place and someone barges into you as they hurry up the stairs? Or maybe you have been shopping with a friend and as you walk through the shopping center they are constantly meters behind as you attempt to clear the concrete jungle? For many years in my life this used to frustrate me and my my anger levels would jump from 0 to 5 within seconds.
“How could people be so rude” I would ask myself, “watch where you are going” I might yell (or mutter under my breath) or swing around to the slow poke and command them to just “hurry up” or if another car does something stupid on the road like cut you off I might even swear out the window and look for something I would like to throw at them.
A concept I am attempting to master is Pacing.
To pace someone would be to join the model of their world… or simply their view on the world. We all have different believes, opinions, values and identity which shapes how we act in our lives. Have you ever found someone who doesn’t like The Simpsons? That’s insane… it’s like the greatest show on Earth. It’s had 20+ seasons and you can always relate to their characters. Everyone likes The Simpsons!
That’s in your model that is.
I started thinking about pacing more when someone indeed bumped me on the train. As the train pulled up to my station, one of the eager passengers had to push to the front of the door despite the train carriage being completely full. I couldn’t understand why they had to push past as the rest of us were shoulder to shoulder and remained patient before the doors opened but then it clicked.
What if this person had to be at the front of the door so they didn’t miss their train. What if this person was a single parent and spent most of their morning preparing their kids for school and this connection was a must otherwise he would be late. What if the train he was to catch was infrequent and only ran every 30 minutes.
The more I thought about it, the less angry I got.
I encourage you to think about a moment in your day today where someone annoyed you then put yourself in their model of the world (or their shoes). Why might have they done what they done?
The more that you can attempt to rationalize an event like the ones I’ve used as examples, the less emotionally charged you will become and it won’t effect your state of mind.