It has been so much fun, so far, writing about empathy. So many more individuals and organizations than I imagined labor to spread the concept. They all recognize it as a tool for achieving, if not harmony, at least a broader perspective. Empathy has become the battle cry (irony intended) of those tired of battle, in areas from international politics to school bullying to product strategy. It’s fascinating how much excitement has been building up about it, in all sorts of different applications.
What’s also fascinating is that it’s hard to pin down. There are almost as many different meanings for empathy as there are applications of it. Everyone earnestly tries to explain what they mean and how it helps, but there are few techniques and guidelines not hidden behind a paywall. So my book will lay out the practices you can incorporate into your life and work–achievable little tidbits that you can work on over the months and years of your career. For instance, I will teach you how to elevate the intelligence and expertise of the person you’re trying to understand above your own level. You are not the expert in the way their reasoning flows, so I’ll teach you how to quell your own instincts and absorb their narrative. That’s one little tidbit.
And while this book is aimed at people working on a service or product, empathy really ends up affecting your personal philosophy, as well. As you get better and better at it, you’ll find it spilling over into all sorts of arenas. And that has been the thing I’ve found most gratifying in my own life. Being an introvert, I feel like I’m woefully behind in my skills at understanding other people. The practice of empathy in my work has started to improve how I react to others. I’m finally able to defuse some of the arguments with my significant other, hallelujah!
It will be my great pleasure to share this book of concrete, everyday practices toward empathy.