I work in a big chain of restaurants, well-known for their friendly service, but the customers never quite seem to return the favor. My job specifically is to act as a host and work out the paperwork that gets people to actually sit down and enjoy a meal. However, people are constantly rude to me as I simply do my best to get them a table. There are many variables in the equation of getting a table on a busy Friday night, including the length of the wait list, the skill of the servers that night, the speed at which the meals can be cooked, and the willingness of people to leave after their meal. I do not factor into that equation at all, I just solve it. Even still, I am always blamed if a group waits too long at the door, or if a child starts to cry of boredom, or if a couple has been standing for forty minutes. One may ask, “Nick, how do you stay sane after all of the complaining you hear?” Well…
I believe in perspective. The way I see it, if I am able to imagine having the same views as someone else, I can solve a lot of problems through understanding. I can stand being yelled at if I realize why people are being rude to me. They were rude to me because they expect to come in with only a short wait at the most, and they want to simply sit down and enjoy a nice meal that they did not have to slave over themselves. People want to come and relax at the restaurant, not have to sit in the corner like some child in time out till some nineteen year old punk says its okay for them to take a seat. I see through my customer’s eyes to see the problem from all sides, forming a three dimensional view of the problem from two angles instead of my weak two dimensional perspective. I do not do that only at work though, as it is also helpful in everyday situations as well like picking out dinner or settling an argument.
The level of understanding that comes from viewing from another’s perspective should be considered some sort of super power. Can you imagine Superman with Understanding Vision along with X-Ray and Laser vision as well? But seriously, the ability to see a problem as a shape instead of just as a flat sheet makes it all the more possible to see that the tunnels to the problem’s core often do not lie on the side one is facing, but normally somewhere along the midline, visible only by looking through the perspective of others and combining it with one’s own. It all comes down to trying to find a middle ground. Sometimes, one’s own view points them straight at the answer, but that is rarely the case because I would suggest people are right at most fifty percent of the time, and only then by sheer luck. At the very least, I know I’m right only about fifty percent of the time, but I’m sure I’m right about perspective. However, when I see through someone else’s eyes I do not get angry with a person, or mimic any of their emotions really, but I see what the problem is and I can remain calm as I try to help them out and solve the problem.
My tendency to build upon my perspectives in people and not holding much stock in first impressions while doing so helps me get to know a person for who they are as well. If I do not think only of the first time I met a person, as is the case with almost all of my slightly peeved customers, my own view can grow wider and wider, so that I am able to reassure the person that we are indeed thinking of them and trying to get a seat for them, but I see that there is a bigger picture to this restaurant, Life. Getting to know other people better and thinking of how they see things has helped me define my own view points better in Life and has led to a greater understanding of myself as well, because now I see my own problems as well as others’, and maybe I’ll get them a table so they can hurry up and get out.