In Their Shoes

This practice is recommended by Greene in the fourth chapter in Mastery, “See People As They Are” (p. 139). The idea behind the practice is to develop your ability to empathize with others and to loosen up your thought process.

The rudiments of the practice are simple. First, choose someone you know fairly well, or have known for quite some time now. This person should preferably be someone that is not a close family member, as you probably already have a strong knowledge of their experiences.

Now, imagine that you are experiencing the world from this person’s point of view. Place yourself in his or her shoes – in their unique circumstances. Try to get a feel for what he or she goes through on a daily basis. What difficulties does this person face?

You can even try to identify with this person, relating some experience or trauma he or she has been through to an experience of your own. Try to imagine it is like to be that person.

Lastly, after you are done, write down what you’ve discovered. Describe anything new or interesting you felt in this exercise.

By doing this exercise, you won’t fully be able to inhabit this person’s mind, knowing how he or she feels. The goal is simply to get outside of your own world, your own way of thinking, and develop the ability to think differently. This will allow you to see from different points of view and use this in dealing with other people.