Practice really hearing

  
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"Practice really hearing what people say. Do your best to get inside their minds." - Marcus Aurelius

If stoicism is a practice of embracing what is in your control and reminding yourself what's not, then what odd advice. What, after all, is more outside of your control than what's going on in my head?

Empathy is a tool for correcting for your own biases. When your boss is short with you, it's natural for anxiety about your job to bubble-up and just ruin your day. That anxiety is soothed, though, when you know your boss is having a really hard time at home.

You may, as a practiced stoic designer, react to your anxiety here in either circumstance the same way. But greater context definitely makes it easier.

We see and vouch for the benefit of "practicing empathy" in design work all the time, right? It sounds a little foreign to phrase it like that, but what we're doing with usability testing is generating enough understanding to make the next strategic decision.

Getting inside of our users' heads provides context and evidence for the choices we make about what's actually in our control: the service we provide.

Craft virtuously.


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Remember that design is not art, but a practice.