To Zip or Not to Zip

Chapter 107 of the book Self-Help Stuff That Works

by Adam Khan

MY WIFE, KLASSY, WAS UPSET about something. As usual, I was trying to help her fix it, which just annoyed her even more. "You don't listen to me," she said, "You just don't understand how I feel." She had said that to me many times before. I must not have been listening.

Of course, when I'm troubled, she listens and I feel better. All of a sudden it occurred to me to find out how she did it. Maybe she had some strategy.

But when I asked her, all she could tell me was, "I just try to see things from your point of view." I'd heard that one before. I pressed her for more detail, and after awhile, she was able to tell me what she did. She had been using a technique without realizing it.

Her method is a lot easier than reading How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which I've done eight times. Good book. But Klassy's one technique incorporated almost every principle in Carnegie's book in one simple mental maneuver.

Here's what she does: She imagines walking around behind me and unzipping my back. She climbs inside and looks out my eyes, sees what I see, hears what I hear and hears it the way I hear it " from my point of view. She tries to imagine what it would feel like inside me. It's a very effective technique for how to walk a mile in someone's moccasins.

All my life I've heard the good advice: "Try to see things from the other person's point of view," but I always thought of it as metaphorical. Apparently it's not a figure of speech. It's a direct and perfectly clear instruction to literally imagine myself looking out through another's eyes. Their eyes are the points from which they view not metaphorically, but in fact.

When I do this, it changes the way I feel about the person I'm listening to and they can tell. I don't know how, but people can tell I really understand them and that I'm not merely going through the motions of trying to appear as if I understand. And all I'm doing is seeing things from the other person's point of view literally.

Imagine yourself looking out from inside another's body.

How to be here now. This is mindfulness from the East applied to reality in the West.


Expressing anger has a good reputation. Too bad. Anger is one of the most destructive emotions we experience, and its expression is dangerous to our relationships.

Comparisons are natural. Indeed, you can't really help it. But you can direct it in a way that enhances your relationships, even making you feel better about people you haven't even met yet.
How You Measure Up

It is unnecessarily limiting to label yourself shy, outgoing, Aries, Taurus, strong, weak, or any other label. Be your true, flexible self and you'll be better off.
Personality Myth

There may be evidence that prayer may actually have medical benefits, even if the prayed-for doesn't know it's happening.
Send a Blessing

Why is it important to make a good impression? Because human brains aren't perfect and are biased by our earliest conclusions.
Very Impressive

next: Take the Sting Out

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 11). To Zip or Not to Zip, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Last Updated: March 31, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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