“… I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit — the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us — the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this — when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers — it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.” President Obama
Cultivate a Unique Presence with Others through Empathy. Much has been written about what executive presence is but one thing is certain: those who possess it have “social attunement” We invariably walk away from them feeling energized and better about ourselves. This ability of making others feel important builds trust and shows sensitivity. People who are able to show this ability are high on the scale of empathy, the quality that makes them sense our need to feel important. They see us not as we are, but as whom we could become. Simply put, they care about how we feel. What a wonderful gift it is, to be able to bestow this on those we encounter. One could argue that it is indeed impossible to have presence without empathy because a major requirement for a unique connection is the ability to be present with others without judging them.
Now new research by Dr Simon Baron-Cohen defines empathy in two parts—as the drive to identify another person’s thoughts and feelings, and the drive to respond appropriately to those thoughts and feelings. It is also, he says, one of the most valuable resources in our world—one which is currently woefully underused. “We all have degrees of empathy…but perhaps we are not using it to its full potential,” he said in a recent lecture. The lack of empathy is an important trait that affects the health of our relationships. The question is on a 1 to 10 how high are you on the empathy scale?