Empathy is learnable

Empathy is an essential skill for great marketing.

If marketing is the art of ‘making things better by making better things’, as defined by Seth Godin. Rather than the selfish act of pressuring people to buy what they don’t need.

Empathy requires we spend time in another person’s shoes — both literally and figuratively.

In today’s rage fuelled online world, it seems that very few people have empathy.

Whether it’s a product that failed because its creators couldn’t see the world through their customers eyes.

Or an outraged mother who believes no child should be vaccinated.

If empathy is a thing that people can learn, and I believe it is, where do we start?

We start by forcing ourselves to answer this question: why did they do what they did?

Why did they choose to drink drive? Why did they choose to cheat on their wife? Why did they make a racist comment online?

You don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to like their actions. But being able to empathise with why they did what they did helps you understand them. And understanding them, if they’re open to it, may be a chance for you to help them change.

As Michael Singer said, every great yogi knows why everyone does what they do, regardless of how abhorrent and brutal it is — even serial killers.

Dismissing actions we don’t admire merely because we don’t care enough to have empathy is rarely going to help us make the change we seek. It doesn’t help us understand, and it creates a gulf that drives us apart.” – Seth Godin

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