During summer, I have friends and family come to stay with me. They are a mixed bag of ages, backgrounds and personalities. Together we share every meal, time on the beach, and cooking and cleaning. Yes, we all get frustrated and rub each other up the wrong way.
It’s a fabulous human experiment and a perfect training ground for practising empathy by trying to understand why others may do, say or act a certain way.
In his latest book, A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future, Daniel Pink describes how we have progressed from a society of farmers (Agricultural Age) to a society of factory workers (Industrial Age) to a society of knowledge workers (Information Age). And now we are progressing again to a society of creators and empathisers and pattern recognition and meaning makers.
Our workplaces, our families and our schools all need more empathy, and the demand for this critical right-brain ability is rising quickly. One of the best ways to train our minds in developing greater empathy is to simply ask, what is it like to be you? Ask not rhetorically but really ask, what is it truly like to be you?
If we are aiming to be of service to our people and customers, a little understanding will go a long way when deepening relationships.
As Thich Nhat Hanh says:
‘Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.’
More understanding equals more love. I want that, do you?
‘Love Being in Service’