Putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes

In the book Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch, author Arindam Chaudhuri describes an incident which he read in Tagore’s biography: One day, when Tagore rebuked his long-time servant for reporting a few hours late for work, the servant apologetically explained to Tagore that he was late because he had had to cremate his son who had died the same morning.

Chaudhuri states that after reading about this incident, he makes it a point to find out things from the other person’s point of view before passing any judgement. He states, “While dealing with people I never forget one very important principle – of trying to put myself in the other person’s shoes and understanding his part of the bargain. There are times when you feel that the other person has committed the biggest mistake of his life and he should not be spared. But, before blasting him, do try to find out his point of view.”

I had described a somewhat similar incident in my post Benefit of doubt.

Most of us do give the benefit of doubt to others, but do we give everybody this benefit of doubt? Or do we give immense amounts of benefit of doubt to people who are wealthier and/or more powerful and/or better connected than us, and little or no benefit of doubt to people if we are wealthier and/or more powerful and/or better connected than them and we are definitely unlikely to need their help in any way in the foreseeable future?