How often have you heard the words "I understand what you are saying, but...". Growing up, we are taught that it is important to understand - things, people, ideas. But sometimes understanding isn't required, empathy is. The former comes easier than the latter.
A police officer may understand your explanation, that you were speeding because you just got news that your mom is in the hospital. But he won't let you off that ticket unless he empathizes.
To get to the root of some issues, and truly address the problem, instead of flexing our intellect, we need to exercise our heart. The next time you are confronted with a problem which seems to personally affect someone - a colleague, a friend, a family member - instead of merely understanding the problem, seek to empathize.