School of Life founder Krznaric (How Should We Live?: Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life, 2013, etc.) presents methods to increase a person’s ability to look at situations through another’s eyes.
Empathy, writes the author, is “an ideal that has the power both to transform our own lives and to bring about fundamental social change….Empathy can create…a revolution of human relationships.” Using scientific research and his own observations, Krznaric identifies six effective approaches that enable a person to increase his or her empathy (e.g., “Make the Imaginative Leap,” “Seek Experiential Adventures,” “Practice the Craft of Conversation”), which moves beyond being sympathetic or compassionate and into the deeper realm of truly feeling what another person experiences. Krznaric gives straightforward, helpful tips on how to develop this ability into a daily habit. Once established as routine, one expands outward to work this new pattern into other relationships. By using techniques such as concentrated listening during conversations, imagining the world from an alternative perspective through exposure to literature, movies, art and music, and connecting via social media and other venues on hot topics such as “economic inequality, disability rights, climate change, and gender justice,” one acquires the ability to understand other people rather than just pity or feel sorry for them. The skill to truly understand someone else leads to potential change not only in the outer world, but also in a person’s inner realm, as it creates “human bonds that make life worth living.” Informative and practical, Krznaric’s techniques are easy to incorporate into daily life and provide a road map toward better rapport with both people we know and strangers on the street.
Useful advice that promotes a more contented, fulfilling lifestyle.