Lau Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, warned us by saying “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
Our destiny is starting to look a lot like a selfie and less like a collection of shared ideals. In fact, I wonder if we have lost sight of our values, our purpose, and, most importantly, each other. As we struggle to come to terms with a new lifestyle, I cannot let go of the idea that our current circumstance is much less a cause than it is a symptom.
Some would argue that recent events have fundamentally changed us forever. However, is it possible that an overall egocentric culture in which we have been operating caused us to lose a sense of who we are long before this? Our attention span actually has no span. Conversations don’t even exist because we are so totally self-absorbed and lack the empathy needed for real enrichment. We have created a culture of perpetual adolescence and oversensitivity, which leads to a high level of emotion and a lack of self-control.
Egocentricity has been prevalent in our culture for quite a while. However, I am praying that the events of the past few months drive home the lesson of empathy and that it becomes our new habit and, ultimately, our new character. And I am not talking about just empathy for race, religion or any other social issue. I am talking about finding a new version of ourselves by being empathetic in our everyday lives.
I could wax on about how technology, parenting, and the addiction to immediate gratification are the symptoms of perpetual adolescence and a self-absorbed culture. But, I would rather talk about empathy, which is both the cure of what ails us and the path to enrichment.
Any good sales or marketer knows that emotion is the key to sales. If you are selling based on logic, then you are toast. If you engage with others on an emotional level then you can find great success. But, we cannot engage people emotionally if we don’t have empathy. If you don’t start thinking about others than we will continue down the path of destruction.
More than ever, we must build a habit of placing ourselves in the shoes of another person – and see the world from his or her point of view. The most important thing for us to do is to see the world from our clients’ point of view, especially as they try and navigate these confusing times. Once we can truly understand others, progress can happen.
I believe that cronyism and greed are boring, while the selfie culture is full of uninspiring noise. Looking out for others and being conscious of their needs has always been the bedrock of great business. In turn, finding a new culture of empathy and unselfishness should be the bedrock of our character.