Sunday, June 11, 2006

None, too much or just the right amount

If you believe in fairy tales, Goldilocks found her perfect fit in a bear cave. If she can find just the right temperature and just the right chair, we, those of us living other than in a fairy tale, can find just the right amount of empathy.

Remember empathy? It's when you or I feel what others are feeling without the others explaining to us what they are feeling. Those without the proper level of empathy are the messed up ones.

If you don't feel any empathy, you could be a sociopath. If you feel too much empathy, you may not be able to fire people or let them know what is best for them because you feel too sorry for them.

Just the right amount of empathy can make one a better person, a productive and happy manager, a good listener, a best friend and a world leader.

Excerising just the right amount of empathy can make you a great leader, a great influencer, a great communicator and one who can easily and effectively resolve many a conflict.

Let's think about famous leaders in our world and compare their levels of empathy. Donald Rumsfeld, does he have the rigt amount or too little or none at all? How about Mother Theresa, what level of empathy did she display? What about our current Pope or the the last Pope?

Dr. Phil or Oprah, do they really exercise empathy or does someone script it for them?

Let's look at happenings in our daily lives for signs of empathy or lack of empathy. Would empathy make a difference in road rage incidents? A Florida woman recently pulled a sword on a motorist at Wal-Mart for taking her parking spot. Just a few weeks ago, a local teen fired four shots into the air at a man and his wife when he, the teen, pulled out if front of the couple, but the man blew his car horn at the teen, who then fired four gun shots into the air as a threat.

What's up with that? Does the kid not realize how he jeopordized the couple's lives by pulling out in front of them just so he could get somewhere two seconds faster? The teen obvisouly could not empathaize with the couple's fears of losing their lives to a non-feeling teenager. Maybe we need to also empathize with the teenager. He obviously does not feel any empathy, so let's ask him why. Then let's teach him that it is better to feel for others than it is to shoot guns at others.

Let's show him we care about the couple but we also care about what he is feeling and we want to help him not shoot bullets into the air but to stop, listen and care.

If we can change one teenager, we can change a million teenagers. It's not too late. We can change the problems with the lack of empathy. We can all take the time to stop, listen and care. Wake up every morning, actually look at people as you go through your day and ask how you can practice empathy.

Not too much, but just the right amount of empathy...

No comments: