“Any fool can know. The point is to UNDERSTAND.” – Albert Einstein

Double Nobel Peace award winner and Polish-French Physicist, Marie Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” 

A young woman worked long hours at a grocery store and often felt exhausted at the end of the day. One day, a customer came to her checkout lane with complaints about the long lines and the slow service. The young woman listened to the customer’s complaints and apologized for the inconvenience. Instead of getting angry or defensive, she decided to take a different approach. She looked at the customer and said, “I understand that waiting in long lines can be frustrating. I’m sorry that you had to wait so long. Is there anything else I can do to make your day better?”

The customer was surprised by her kindness and understanding. She realized that she was doing her best to serve customers despite the stressful environment. From that day on, the customer always went to her checkout lane and even started bringing her small gifts and treats as a sign of gratitude.

The young woman’s ability to understand people and show empathy had a positive impact not only on that customer but also on many others who came through her checkout lane. She learned that by taking the time to understand and connect with others, she could make a real difference in their lives.

A POSITIVE INFLUENCER UNDERSTANDS PEOPLE. Understanding people is the key to helping them to achieve their dreams. American 33rd President, Harry S. Truman said, “It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.” 

Most people want to be listened to, respected, and understood. Fifty percent of all the controversies and conflicts that arise among people are caused not by differences of opinion or an inability to agree, but by their lack of understanding for one another. 

The billion-dollar question is – WHY DO PEOPLE FAIL TO UNDERSTAND OTHERS? Leadership Guru and my mentor, Dr. John Maxwell offered some suggestions like fear, self-centeredness, failure to appreciate differences, and failure to acknowledge similarities. He also highlighted five things everybody needs to understand about people: [1]. Everybody Wants to Be Somebody. [2]. Nobody Cares How Much You Know Until He Knows How Much You Care. [3]. Everybody Needs Somebody. [4]. Everybody Can Be Somebody When Somebody Understands and Believes in Her. [5]. Anybody Who Helps Somebody Influences a Lot of Bodies.

The ability to UNDERSTAND PEOPLE is not a gift, it is a CHOICE that demands that we possess the other person`s perspective, personal empathy, and a positive attitude about people. This is what we all can do to improve our ability to UNDERSTAND PEOPLE. Each time you meet new people ask yourself these questions: [1]. Where did they come from? [2]. Where do they want to go? [3]. What is their need now? [4]. How can I help? When you make it your priority to UNDERSTAND PEOPLE, you will become a POSITIVE INFLUENCER in their lives and other lives connected to them!