Empathy is not a buzzword; it’s a life pursuit. The wings of wisdom and compassion have been taught by Buddhism for 2500 years. This isn’t new.
What’s new is the movement to integrate compassionate practices into business. Particularly in the tech industry which is often so dehumanizing. Left unchecked, technology turns people into proxies. That’s why it’s so crucial that we integrate empathy and compassion into the design process.
The way to authentically introduce empathy to your organization is to live it and breathe it yourself. Compassion starts at home, inside you.
Empathy can be assessed and it can be developed. Through ongoing self-awareness practices (such as meditation, yoga, martial arts, journaling, coaching) we are able to gain greater awareness of others — by achieving greater presence. It is a process, a lifelong process, and it has an impact not just at work but in your whole life.
Remember, you are a whole human being, and all of you goes with you wherever you go. The same is true for everyone around you — your coworkers, your boss, that guy across the hall you just can’t stand.
Cultivating compassion for others reduces conflict and increases joy. It will transform your life. So when you see all this talk of empathy, try not to think, “Oh, that again?!” and instead wonder, “What am I missing?”
The answers lie within you. You just have to look.
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- Mark Ruffalo and Sesame Street Teach Kids About Empathy August 31, 2012 | 4 comments