One of my personal characteristics that I’m mindful of is my capacity for empathy. Seeing something from the perspective of someone else or understanding how a situation makes them feel doesn’t come naturally to me. Over time, I learned that understanding the perspectives and feelings of others is a superpower. It makes navigating the world much easier, especially for founders (it’s hard to solve a problem unless you understand the feelings and perspectives of those living the problem).
Over the years, I’ve improved significantly in this area. I’ve tried various things, but what’s had the most impact is simple: spending time with people different from me and trying to understand their perspectives and how they developed them. Doing this (in a genuine and authentic way) has enlarged the lens that I view the world through. That’s made it easier to see things from multiple vantage points. I still may not agree with their perspective, but I can see things through their lens and understand how they feel.
I’m still not an overly empathetic person. But intentionally spending time with others with different perspectives has enhanced my capacity for empathy. It’s something I want to continue doing as long as I can.