A star lion tamer with Barnum & Bailey Circus, Graham Tomas Chipperfield, got bitten by Sheba, one of his 500-pound lionesses.
Before the mauled tamer got back into the cage, he made very sure to see what happened from Sheba's point of view. He recognized how lions tend to think of the trainer as another lion. And so when he bounded into the cage to break up a fight between Sheba and another lion, Sheba merely figured Chipperfield wanted to join in the fight too.
Did Chipperfield sit around blaming Sheba for her inaccurate thinking? No. Instead he took the time to see the biting from Sheba's perspective, so he'd make sure this bad event would not happen again.
Robert Staub, a psychologist who counsels people who have been through failure, would agree with the Chipperfield philosophy. He says that the main cause of career and relationship failure is "not being able to adopt the viewpoint of others."
For this reason, many therapists—beginning with Freud—have clients role-play a situation from the offending party's perspective. The hope is that by understanding why someone might have emotionally taken a bite out of them, the patient can avoid being bitten again!
Bounce Back Assignment: Take the time today to understand your contribution to any bad event you've just been through.
Never, ever put yourself back into the same environment—a marriage, a job, a friendship—until you've fully understood things from "the lion's point of view."