According to University of California, Berkeley, the answers are yes, and yes. Researchers found that we can cultivate empathy over the course of our lives, and when we do, quality of life improves.
So, if you want to become a Highly Empathetic Person (HEP) and improve your life, try this:
1. Talk with strangers.
Curiosity leads us to meet people from different walks of life and expands our world view. When we understand people and relate to them, we’re more empathetic. Curious people enjoy greater life satisfaction.
2. Challenge prejudices and discover commonalities.
Don’t label others. Challenge yourself to look past labels and discover commonalities. When we see how similar we are to others, instead of how different, we empathize.
3. Try another person’s life.
This one is challenging. Instead of avoiding different people or different activities, try engaging. “If you are religiously observant, try a “God Swap,” attending the services of faiths different from your own, including a meeting of Humanists. Or if you’re an atheist, try attending different churches! Spend your next vacation living and volunteering in a village in a developing country. Take the path favored by philosopher John Dewey, who said, “All genuine education comes about through experience.”
4. Listen hard—and open up.
Researchers recommend “radical listening.” But that’s only half of the equation. We must open ourselves and share a little, too.
5. Inspire mass action and social change.
In short, try to change the world. You’ll feel inspired.
6. Develop an ambitious imagination.
“The 21st century should become the Age of Empathy, when we discover ourselves not simply through self-reflection, but by becoming interested in the lives of others.”
Read Roman Krznaric‘s complete article here: