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Why Is Empathy So Important?

Why Is Empathy So Important?

Empathy – that is, the ability to understand and be aware of, co-experience the feelings and thoughts of other people, is probably one of the most important skills a person may have. And it’s not just for building and maintaining strong and healthy relationships, but to work more effectively and achieve greater success in life in general. It may sound a bit idealistic, but it doesn’t prevent it from being true. So why exactly is empathy so important for us?

1. Humans Are Social Animals

No matter how you look at it, humans exist in communication with each other, and there are very few activities they take part in that don’t include interactions with other human beings in this or that form. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the ability to better understand others and read their feelings and emotions gives an edge to the one who has it. It allows you to perceive others’ motives, treat them the way they want to be treated, mind their needs, understand how others perceive you, and so on.

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2. It Is Good for Business and Career

Whether you are a business owner or an employee, whether you work in sales or IT, empathy can make all the difference in the world for your career prospects. Good business relationships are built on trust, and to build up trust you have to first understand what the other party wants, needs and expects. Empathy makes this a natural process. Thus, whether you want to build healthy cooperation with your colleagues, employees and bosses or try to organize trust-based marketing approach, empathy is going to be of great help.

3. It Lets You Better Understand Non-Verbal Components of Communication

Communication is so much more than what words express. People who are weak at empathy have very hard time reading between the lines of their conversations and understanding that what the other person means, or wants, to communicate to them is something completely different from what they actually say.

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4. It Makes You Be Better at Handling Conflicts

When you subliminally perceive what the other party wants and needs and can understand exactly why they want and need it, reaching a “win-win” solution gets so much easier. You no longer have to blindly grasp for a solution, misreading the other party’s signals and searching for a way out in the wrong place.

5. It Makes It Easier to Convince and Motivate Others

When you are able to see the world from another’s point of view, see their motives, feelings and preconceptions, finding ways to convince others to your point of view and motivating them to do something becomes much easier than when you try to use a one-size-fits-all approach. Different people are motivated by vastly different things, and having empathy means having keys to understanding them on the fly.

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6. It Broadens Your Horizons

If empathy means co-experiencing the world from another person’s point of view, feeling with that person, it naturally follows that if you are strong at empathy, it allows you to perceive the world from multiple viewpoints. When you see the world not only from your own perspective, but from the perspectives of other people as well, it lets you perceive it to a fuller extent, see unexpected and previously unknown parts of it and, in general, live a more fulfilled life.

Empathy, on a very basic level, is what makes us human. Thus it is hardly surprising that achieving higher levels of empathy very often means achieving greater success and fulfillment as human beings – which means that concentrating on training your empathetic ability is a very sound course of action.

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Featured photo credit: Stephen Acuna/flickr.com via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

Melissa is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. She writes about communication, entrepreneurship and success on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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