Empathy, The Art of Understanding

Success is a relevant thing, but there is no doubt about one other thing, that the most successful people in life are the ones with the most empathy.

Empathy is the art of putting yourself in other people’s shoes. You get to see what they see, and feel what they feel. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily live their experiences; it just means that you get to have a taste of their experience in order to make sense of what it is they are actually thinking and feeling as you come about making decisions for them, or even communicating with them.

How many times have you wondered about people’s attitude or actions? How many times have you been shocked at their reaction to your own attitude or actions? How many conflicts have risen from these situations?

We always tend to focus on getting our thoughts and vision through to others. We feel that if only others would see it our way, things would be perfectly done. The real focus should be on how others see things and feel about them, because that is were we experience the real advantage. That is what compliments our vision and makes it comprehensive. Understanding others is what impacts how we later express our own thoughts so we express them in a way that is better understood and received by others for a successful outcome. Looking out for what others are thinking and feeling is a gateway to their minds and hearts.

Empathy is both a gift and a skill that can be enhanced, no matter what level you are at. It is also one of the skills that is guaranteed to benefit all parties involved. It benefits the ones that exercise empathy and the people that receive its effect. Issues get resolved in a smoother, more comprehensive manner, resulting in the satisfaction of more parties and an increase in the levels of participation, co-operation, commitment, and high performance. Team members work together more smoothly and co-operatively. Ultimately, this leaves more time and energy for those in leadership positions to focus on vision and results, rather than spending time on micromanaging conflicts.

If ever one skill were needed for life, it would be empathy. It is what makes you get along with people, it decreases conflict and having empathy enhances performance. It gets you on top of things and ahead in life. It is simply an art.


Rania Abdel Ghaffar has more than 18 years experience of teaching English Language Skills, Business English and Customized programs, both as a freelancer and as a member of several international institutions such as The American University in Cairo, Cairo University, The American University in Dubai, and the Eton Institute. She is a certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Assessor and Coach from the Institute for Social and Emotional Intelligence and a certified SEI Assessor by Six Seconds Organization.

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