The Creativity of Empathy, The Creativity of Humility

November 16th, 2014 | Uncategorized

During a Creativity and Innovation workshop this weekend at the IE Business School in Madrid, brilliantly conducted by Professor Andrew McCarthy, I gained a few useful insights on the composition of the creative and innovative mind. One contributor or predictor of individual creativity that was discussed was the ability to empathize with others. Empathy was defined as essential and an evolutionary step of sympathy, by where one goes from simply understanding experiences and sentiments of others, to an actual level of emotional identification and feeling.


Doing some reading, and coming across inspirational quotes all the time, I tried to place the idea of a relationship between creativity and empathy in agreement with some maxims that we socially accept.


1. At the end of the day, it comes down to individual choice.


I can certainly agree with this. Although social circumstances differ vastly, within a specific context, quality of choices made tend to determine success or failure in the long-term.


2. We can understand how and why our fellow human beings make certain decisions.


If we all believe ourselves to be empathetic, we can say that we feel the emotional experiences of others. However, we can never say that we understand them, as only one person knows what drives choices made, the specific individual. If you have never had the experiences of someone else, then how do you know how it is affecting them internally? Simple answer, you don’t. You cannot. Only on paper and within experimental theories can we justify understanding decision making processes. On a true human level, we know nothing until we have felt each and every single experience that contributes to that decision made.


So how can we judge other individuals, or other groups of people? It is simply illogical. The only person that you can judge is yourself. Although choices do create a tangible result, decision making is an outcome of a diverse web of experiences felt only by that person.


Sounds like it would complicate life a bit, huh. Actually, if we go forward with that understanding of human beings, life opens up. You take things less personally. It’s not always about you, or people being bad people. Sure, people will always be responsible for choices. Still, that does not mean that I have any right to judge, for they are not me, and I am not them. In this sense, empathy is a synonym of humility.


Like Bob Marley once said “He who feels it knows it.”


Once we find that place of humility within ourselves we find it much easier to empathize and help, rather than judge and categorize. Although we are naturally programmed to judge in some senses, we are also naturally predisposed to lift each other up. Be humble. Help each other out. Don’t judge.


One love.


#sportchangeslife #inspire #victory


Victory Scholar: Jonathan Nelson

Sport League: ATLANTIC 10

Present University: University of Limerick

Alma Mater: Dayton University

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