Get out of Yourself and into another
There are currently about 7.5 Billion people living on planet Earth at this time in history, and this means there are 7.5 Billion individual viewpoints about “how things really are.” One way of looking at this is to consider that each individual rules his/her own little universe, with their own set of rules and regulations, and their own government. Of course, they appoint themselves as the “God-ruler” of this self-created world.
Since we are all God in our own universe, is it any wonder that we have trouble understanding that there may be, in fact, a universal God? Is it also possible that some of the other people on this planet might have a right to exist, and that it’s entirely possible they might not agree with the rules of our world? Morever, it’s possible that they might have their own rules about how things should run, and they’d like us to just agree with them!
Psychologists tell us that most people create their own world-view by the time they are six years old. The most common name for this world is the Ego, and it is based upon our experiences (good and bad), our decisions, our conclusions, directions we’ve received from others (parents, siblings) and how we’ve chosen to “be” in order to survive. Once we have created this matrix, we begin to operate according to the rules we have adopted, and we also begin to filter our view of actual reality based upon our view of things.
In short, our ego determines what we see, what we experience, what we feel and sense, and how we relate to everyone else on this planet. And this ego is largely created before we reach age 6, so the decisions and guiding principles in our self-created universes are coming from the viewpoint of a six year old.
How many of you were making completely sane and logical decision when you were six years old? When Mommy and Daddy yelled at us, did we cry or retaliate with anger, or did we logically deal with the criticism? When we were spanked or struck in anger by others, did we understand that the other person was only dramatizing what had happened to them in their childhood? Or did we cry, strike back in anger, or cower in fear? How did you deal with stress when you were 6 years old?
Remember, all this experience from age 0-6 feeds into the programming of your world, and it’s the basis of your ego. And from that point until now, that is your “inner voice” which guides ALL of your decisions. Scary thought, isn’t it?
It is in this context that we would like to now consider the following questions:
How can we learn to step out of our universe and into another? What do we need to do to “escape” our ego? Is it possible that we can elevate ourselves to a level of awareness where we can forget about ourselves for a while and actually think about someone else? Can we overcome our native self-centeredness?
The simple answer is “yes” to all of the above….but not without a lot of practice.
If we have been living in our own universe since we were 6 years old, we have gotten mighty comfortable in our “room.” Everything is familiar, all the rules are known, everything we input is filtered to agree with our perception of truth, nothing is challenging to our reality. It’s all just us, and it’s good.
But here’s the rub: the only way we can improve ourselves is by stepping out of our own ego and trying to understand the outside reality. And this means actually seeing what’s in front of us, listening deeply to another’s viewpoint, and seeing the world through their viewpoint. Until we can move out of our own “safe space”, we will never grow, never mature, never achieve the success we desire.
We may be living in a 30-year old body, with adult responsibilities (a spouse, children, bills to pay and a challenging career). But inside, we still see things from our 6-year old childhood viewpoint, and we still react like then.
For the modern salesperson, it is even more important to understand the world from the viewpoint of your prospect/customer. Since your job is to move their view of the world and to convince them of the value of what you offer, you absolutely must be able to “become them”, see things as they see things, feel the world as they feel it, before you will ever be able to change.
Until you can get inside the “universe” of your customer, you’ll never understand their needs and wants. You’ll never tap into their 6-year old child, you’ll never be able to harmoniously deal with their ego, and you won’t have a chance in hell of getting them to buy anything. Why would they? They don’t trust you, because you are the enemy!
Remember, to sell anything we need to communicate with clarity the unique value proposition of our product/service. Before we do that, we must understand what is important to our prospect, what are their challenges and business needs, and what motivates them. Value is only important to the buyer, not to the seller, so we first need to assume their viewpoint and see things as if we were them. Only then will we comprehend what they deem valuable.
Here’s a simple drill to get you started down the correct path:
1. Renounce yourself. Drop your ego, drop your self-centeredness. Grant that there are other viewpoints in this world, there are other people living here, and decide that it’s important to see things with an open mind. Kill the ego!
2. Calm your mind, eliminate random thoughts. Easier said than done, but you must get to a relaxed state of “nothingness” or “emptiness.” Otherwise you won’t have any room in your mind for someone else.
3. Focus your energy and consciousness on the other person and begin listening to what they are saying.
4. Imagine you were accomplished in mental telepathy, that you could hear their thoughts. What would you be hearing?
5. Imagine you are actually them. What are you feeling emotionally and physically?
6. Imagine you’re inside their body, looking at the world through their eyes. What are you seeing?
7. Since you are now being them, what are you worried about. What concerns you? How are you feeling about yourself?
8. Finally, before you leave them and return to yourself, make sure you take time to thank them. A kind, loving thought and an appreciation for the experience are most appropriate. Express these thoughts silently, and remember to smile.
Practice this simple drill with several people. Get in the habit of listening deeply to what is being said, and keep trying to boost your empathy. Continue working on “assuming their viewpoint” and seeing things from their point of view. You will probably find that you are far more intuitive than you had previously thought. You will also begin learning some amazing thing about other people and the world in general.
It all starts with dropping your ego, calming your mind, and listening.
Best of luck!