Sidewalks in Hawaii (Achievement Nudge about Point of View)

winding sidewalk among green grass and palm trees leading to Hawaiian resort - featured image for blog about point of view by truby achievements

Last Updated on July 3, 2024 by Bill Truby

Your perspective is important, but your perspective on another person’s perspective is important, too!

Achieve Better Interaction from Understanding Another Person’s Point of View

I was doing some business in Hawaii with a friend who hadn’t been there before. We were walking down the right side of the sidewalk as a group of Asians were walking towards us – on the same side of the sidewalk. This happened over and over, and my friend became upset…very upset. “It’s like they’re playing chicken with us!” he exclaimed.

But my friend was seeing things the way he thought they should be seen…from HIS point of view. And rarely is our point of view THE point of view. You know the saying, “There are always two sides to a story”? Well…there are always two sides to a perspective, too. (Reminds me of the book we wrote: No Two People See the Same Rainbow). What was really going on when we walked down that Hawaiian sidewalk was different than what my friend thought.

I explained to him that in Asia, they walk and drive on the left side of the road. We do so on the right. When we walk toward each other on the sidewalk, our behavior defaults to our cultural expectations. They walk on the left; we walk on the right – imminent head-on collision.

The Asians weren’t being impolite, they were acting normal. It was no different than driving down the right side of a country road and someone comes around the corner driving on their left. What do you do? Though you may slow down, the first thing you do is continue on the right side of the road EXPECTING them to move to your left. But if they are Asians (or Britons, for that matter) coming toward you on the left side of the road, they are already on their “right” side of their road, so they continue with the same expectation you have.

Our feelings and behavior are dictated by our perspective. In this case, my friend’s were dictated by his perspective…on their perspective. And, if two people have perspectives, each correct from each person’s point of view, but they are in conflict, one of two things happen: There is a crash, or one person has to give up their perspective. Neither are welcomed acts.

So, what can you do? You can do what my father always taught me: “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider their motive.” Typically, your spouse, child, employee or employer isn’t intentionally trying to hurt you or “get in your way.” Give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember that their attitude and behavior is coming from THEIR perspective.

When you try to understand their perspective, it typically alters your perspective. And with a new perspective on their perspective, you can engage in a more loving, peaceful way.

Now… let’s see if I can be clear. Don’t assume that the right side of the road is truly the “right” side of the road. You may come to understand that the left side of the road is the “right” side of the road. And when you understand that the left side of the road can be the “right” side of the road, you may move to the left side of the road, which would be an act of love and respect…AND, indeed, the “right” side of the road!


Bill Truby

Founder and President of Truby Achievements