I learned that one of the challenges for the person of power and influence is to have a deep appreciation of empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
I say this is a challenge is that one cannot be empathetic for everyone as much as we might wish to. To attempt to do so is contrary to the possibilities of human psychology.
In the new environment of globalization the influencer and power broker is more than ever confronted with the collateral damage that may result from certain decisions. Now, it seems that the world is more empathetic than ever. To feel the pain of suffering in other peoples or in geographically distant places are ways of thinking that were not part of our cultural behaviors just a century ago. Advances in communication, transportation and the culture of social networking has changed the way we see each other. Even Violence, seen on historical timescales, is decreasing and where it has not decreased there is often condemnation and consequences for those who violate what is considered ethical behavior towards others
As we expand the scope of our empathy the circle of those we care about has expanded to include people of different races, creeds, social and economic classes and nations. It seems that not only the human race will draw our empathy but animals and the planet itself. Most would say that this pattern is a good thing and yet there is a challenge here.
Of course there is flawed thinking in the creating of this perfect picture. Our instinctive nature tells us to separate others into to “us” and “them”. On the Wisdom Path this is called Tribal Thinking” and is difficult to transcend. We like to help those in our tribe. These may be friends, family, or fellow citizens. At the other extreme we may neglect or even punish those we do not consider as members of our tribe. In our post-modern, globalized, multicutural world our moral circles are expanding still many remain stubbornly fixed to dogmatic definitions of tribes and even sub-tribes within major goups – Protestant and Catholic, Pentocostal and both Democrats and Republicans, Tea Party Republicans and mainstream Republicans, Sunnis and Shiites, both within these groups opposed to Sufis Duke, Observant Jews and Reform Jews etc
The person who is motivated by love and compassion is likely to have an intellectual and emotional investment in universal empathy, which means no boundary between in-group and out-group. This is a challenge for in doing so there will likely be a conflict between our hierarchal and competitive nature and our desire to be altruistic in all ways.
As the realization spreads that life on earth need not always be a zero sum game we have the capability to act on the empathy we feel and be kinder, gentler and compassionate. Even the most selfish and provincial among us has the ability to put an empathetically driven reciprocal altruism into action with little cost to ourselves if reciprocation does not take place. With a clear intention we can become more inclusive, reducing the need to divide between in-group and out-group. There are number of ways to increase empathy. They include:
Practicing meditation, serving others and simply having the intention to be more empathetic towards ideologically and racially dissimilar others.
The great thing about the natural tendency most people have to be competitive and hierarchal is that can often be easily influenced to respond to some financial or material gain. I often write about this in my analysis of game theory and applied game based thinking. Whenever one introduces monetary incentives people can be motivated to behave better towards their adversaries and have greater empathy towards them. Of course we are tribal on a core level and it is unlikely that we will ever completely transcend our parochial tendencies patterns.
How empathetic are you and how do you express empathy for others in your daily life?
To learn more on some of the ideas presented in this blog please read my Ebook: Healing Depression Naturally
You can purchase and download it at: http://www.RealUGuru.com
You can also find an Ebook on emotional healing at:
Lewis Harrison is a writer, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in game based thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.
Known as the RealUGuru. He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages. Including the business books.
Don’t forget to tune into my Radio show today at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.
If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books.
You can find them here:
In addition Lewis is THE CREATOR OF Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory, seminar leader, futurist, NPR affiliated radio talk show (WIOXRadio.org) host, success and life coach and a best-selling author.
He is the creator of a web site – http://www.RealUGuru.com that focuses on the application of gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness, and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.
Here is a short interview with Lewis;
His company www.eventschairmassage.com offers Corporate chair massage to meeting planners, event planners, association meetings and trade shows. He also offers these stress management and onsite massage services in NYC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Columbus Ohio and many other cities across the United States through www.NoStressSpeaker.com.
LIST OF BOOKS
“The RealUGuru’s Guide to Wealth and Success Big Data and Information Science”
Winning the Game of Life: A Primer to Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory