Monthly Article Archives: March 1999

The Importance of Empathy: A Significant Feature of the Mindset of Successful People – Part IIRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In my last column I emphasized that a common characteristic of individuals who are successful as business leaders, teachers, parents, spouses, or healthcare professionals is their ability to be empathic. Empathic people are skilled in placing themselves inside the shoes of another person and seeing the world through that person’s eyes. It is not surprising that Daniel Goleman listed empathy as one of the main components of emotional intelligence. In my activities as a therapist and consultant as well as in my personal life, I have come to believe that empathy is implicated in all of our relationships, impacting on the satisfaction and effectiveness with which we interact with others. As I noted in my last column, people who are empathic have developed a mindset that asks, “In anything I say or do, am I saying or doing it in a way in which other people will be most responsive to listening to me?” By posing this question, I am not suggesting that we assume the role of amateur psychologist, attempting to analyze every word we utter in every interaction we have (if we did, we are likely to become disorganized, overwhelmed, and paralyzed), but rather that we keep in

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