"What are the hardest and most useful skills to learn?"

Séamas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#16
Odyssey said:
PerfectCircle said:
I would also say that empathy is something you have or don't have (psychopath ?) and you cannot learn it. I may be wrong, but my experiences so far have convinced me that it is true.
I would say that some people are born with the capacity of empathy and some are not (psychopaths). If one is born with the capacity, I think it can be cultivated and grown as a person becomes less selfish and self-centered (through WORK) and better able to put oneself in another person's shoes.
I agree. Psychopaths and individuals with an acquired defect like Stalin are special cases. Normal people who have a capacity for empathy can at least develop skills that help them to be more empathetic. If anyone is interested in a modern perspective on this there are a number of articles on SoTT that illustrate this concept including:

https://www.sott.net/article/328010-Transforming-lives-by-nurturing-the-growth-of-empathy said:
Transforming lives by nurturing the growth of empathy
by Roman Krznaric
UpliftConnect
Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:00 UTC

Are We Living in the Age of Empathy?

If you think you're hearing the word "empathy" everywhere, you're right. It's now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But there is a vital question that few people ask: How can I expand my own empathic potential? Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it's a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives.

But what is empathy? It's the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity. And don't confuse it with the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." As George Bernard Shaw pointed out, "do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you—they might have different tastes." Empathy is about discovering those tastes.

The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to one side by evidence that we are also homo empathicus, wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid.

Read more... there are links to more articles at the bottom of the page
and

https://www.sott.net/article/309093-Empathy-with-strangers-can-be-learned said:
Empathy with strangers can be learned
ScienceDaily
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 00:00 UTC

We can learn to empathize with strangers. Surprisingly positive experiences with people from another group trigger a learning effect in the brain, which increases empathy. As researchers from the University of Zurich reveal, only a handful of positive learning experiences already suffice for a person to be-come more empathic.

Conflicts between people from different nationalities and cultures often stem from a lack of empathy or compassion for 'the stranger'. More empathy for members of other groups could thus encourage peaceful coexistence. A study conducted by the University of Zurich examined whether empathy with strangers can be learned and how positive experiences with others influence empathic brain responses.

Surprising behavior influences learning

Psychologist and neuroscientist Grit Hein teamed up with Philippe Tobler, Jan Engelmann and Marius Vollberg to measure brain activation in participants who had had positive experiences with a member of their own group (in-group member) or another group (out-group member). During the test, the participants expected to re-ceive painful shocks to the backs of their hands. However, they also discovered that a member of their own or another group could pay money to spare them pain. The brain activation while observing pain in a person from one's own or another group was recorded before and after these experiences.

At the beginning of the study, the stranger's pain triggered a weaker brain activation in the participant than if a member of his or her own group was affected. However, only a handful of positive experiences with someone from the stranger's group led to a significant increase in empathic brain responses if pain was inflicted on a different person from the out-group. The stronger the positive experience with the stranger was, the greater was the increase in neuronal empathy.

The increased empathic brain response for the out-group is driven by a neuronal learning signal that develops through surprisingly positive experiences with a stranger. "These results reveal that positive experiences with a stranger are transferred to other members of this group and increase the empathy for them," says Hein.

Journal Reference:

Hein, G., Engelmann, J.B., Vollberg, M., & Tobler, P.N. "How learning shapes the empathic brain." Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America, December 2015, DOI.

Source: University of Zurich
also:

Practical Ways to Boost Empathy
What is the best strategy for attaining empathy?
The downside of 'empathy'
Empathic people are natural targets for sociopaths - protect yourself
 

Seppo Ilmarinen

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#17
I think so too. Probably many can identify how gaining knowledge transformed something inside them and tuned the capacity for empathy. A trivial and limited information can grow into much more deeper and comprehensive understanding. For example when i think about the fate of John F. Kennedy, what he tried to achieve, how his death cemented U.S and the world into certain path, how it's connected to later turning points such as 9/11 and everything happened after that, i really feel for whole humanity. Without access to this knowledge, i couldn't feel empathy for something i didn't know exist. And i don't mean just precisely these events, but more like the certain type of experiences that are perhaps necessarily to experience in order to change the quality of empathy, i believe.
 
#18
Odyssey said:
PerfectCircle said:
I would also say that empathy is something you have or don't have (psychopath ?) and you cannot learn it. I may be wrong, but my experiences so far have convinced me that it is true.
I would say that some people are born with the capacity of empathy and some are not (psychopaths). If one is born with the capacity, I think it can be cultivated and grown as a person becomes less selfish and self-centered (through WORK) and better able to put oneself in another person's shoes.
I do agree in that case as any trait or skill can be cultivated and improved.
 
#19
Seppo Ilmarinen said:
I think so too. Probably many can identify how gaining knowledge transformed something inside them and tuned the capacity for empathy. A trivial and limited information can grow into much more deeper and comprehensive understanding. For example when i think about the fate of John F. Kennedy, what he tried to achieve, how his death cemented U.S and the world into certain path, how it's connected to later turning points such as 9/11 and everything happened after that, i really feel for whole humanity. Without access to this knowledge, i couldn't feel empathy for something i didn't know exist. And i don't mean just precisely these events, but more like the certain type of experiences that are perhaps necessarily to experience in order to change the quality of empathy, i believe.
You mean the "Collective ANGST" is not just accidental,
but created by manipulation.

I agree, it is far easier to feel for the peoples' confused misery knowing that it has been manufactured.

Easier to forgive the ignorance one sees too,
when you realise it is not natural.
 

rws

The Force is Strong With This One
#20
How could we "know," or be certain, that an individual can be born without capacity for empathy?

I can see that we might "believe" that to be the case. We might consider it highly probable. But are we certain that a person like Stalin began his life completely without this capacity? That under different circumstances it might not have developed in him?

I'm not saying I know the answer to this. I'm just wondering. I realize that there may be a great deal I'm not seeing here and that many of my assumptions are just plain wrong. Still . . . .
 

Corvus

Jedi Council Member
#21
SocietyofSpectacle,
The question which arises with manipulation and it being manufactured, who are the main players in that game that make it happen? That reminds me of man walking on a red light and car hitting him, and that man then blaming car. Who would in his mind think that cars drive when the light is green.

Does it not sound a bit contradictory saying something is not natural while it is living and breathing very well, and you can see it if you look around you.

rws,
in the end it does not matter if person like Stalin began his life without it, or if under different circumstances he would not developed it, because under our circumstances he did. There is much evidence in recommended readings here on the forum and other articles, like that on sott.net, that some creatures do not have empathy.
 

monotonic

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#22
rws said:
How could we "know," or be certain, that an individual can be born without capacity for empathy?
You don't have to be certain. Nothing is 100% certain. But if someone is stomping your kittens to death one by one, and you don't believe such a thing is possible for a human, it is going to take more kittens before you take action. The first issue here is limiting the destruction of psychopaths and fanciful notions that hinder action only end up contributing to the carnage.
 

rws

The Force is Strong With This One
#23
monotonic said:
rws said:
How could we "know," or be certain, that an individual can be born without capacity for empathy?
You don't have to be certain. Nothing is 100% certain. But if someone is stomping your kittens to death one by one, and you don't believe such a thing is possible for a human, it is going to take more kittens before you take action. The first issue here is limiting the destruction of psychopaths and fanciful notions that hinder action only end up contributing to the carnage.
I definitely agree that the practical aspect is what is more important.
 

Apeiron

A Disturbance in the Force
#24
There is poem that I like. I think It fits to this topic. Here it is:

If—
BY RUDYARD KIPLING

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
 

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#25
Positive self-talk
"Ultimately it doesn't matter what others think of you," Shobhit Singhal writes, "but what you think of yourself certainly does, and it takes time to build that level of confidence and ability to believe in yourself when nobody else does."

On the other side of positive self-talk is negative self-talk, which Betsy Myers, founding director of The Centre for Women and Business at Bentley University, believes can slowly chip away at your confidence.
Resilience
 
#26
Being a parent is a real tough one..as individuals where still growing and wanting to do the best for our children and how they react with the world around them and our reactions to this and how as parents the level of information and knowledge and love we share together effects us and from there those all around us.
Glad to say ive learned a great deal from mine and reading over the years Lauras time with her children and how she reacted and coped with everything going on around her made me approach my own family life and what i needed to do as a parent and not to do in a number of ways.
So being a parent is indeed a tough skill to get right and if you find yourself lost and not knowing what to do always use love,empathy,kindness and patience first before rushing to conclusions in every sutuation you and they find themselves in.
 
#27
I would add external and internal considering which seem to include several of the skills mentioned. That and Constatation which I would loosely define as stepping outside the machine and observing. Please correct me if I have misunderstood constatation.
 

anartist

Jedi
FOTCM Member
#28
I would add external and internal considering which seem to include several of the skills mentioned. That and Constatation which I would loosely define as stepping outside the machine and observing. Please correct me if I have misunderstood constatation.
Yes, constatation is a funny word. One definition I've found is
So it would seem that you've not used it for the meaning you thought (i.e. stepping outside...) unless you were thinking that stepping outside was a process of verification?!. Despite it being a _process_ of verification, it is a noun, and it seems to have 2 meanings, which would depend on context I'd think.
 

Argos

A Disturbance in the Force
#29
Consistency is a skill that I work a lot and that escapes me too often. I try to remain perseverant in my goals of life and at the same time to be fully present in my interactions with those around me, and often their objectives are full of distractions in which I am willingly lost while it does not really correspond to me ... so I have to find my personal thread and at the same time I notice that some people enrich my thread ... I have to stay open for these meetings there whereas I often want to close me not to be deviated but I know that without enrichment of others I do not really advance ... So I try to refine my perception of the psychic presence of others by using empathy in a simple listening of what is expressed and thoughts or mode of thoughts that turns in me to these moments
 

Oxajil

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
#30
Honesty with others

Being completely honest with others can be awkward, but just because you don't have anything nice to say, that doesn't mean you shouldn't say it.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is a proponent for radical candour, which is feedback that lies at the intersection of caring about people personally and being willing to piss them off.

When practising radical candour, use the acronym HHIPP to remember: Radical candour is humble, helpful, immediate, in person, and it doesn't personalise.
During one job interview, someone told me that I come across as being "very kind" and that he's worried that I won't be able to give honest feedback or to be assertive and, if needed, push people to hand things in when they're beyond the deadline. It's an interesting comment, because it did ring true. It's something I've been struggling with in most situations. Of course, during the interview I said that this is something I've been working on.

And it's only recently that I'm seeing that by doing this regularly, it becomes easier for me. Of course, it's still scary in some ways, but once I take that step, the rest comes naturally, and every time it's a relief, and for the other person, too.

For example, I received a 'complaint' from one of our clients about one of my colleagues. Nothing too shattering, but I kind of postponed telling my colleague about it. My client told me not to tell her, but considering the type of workplace I'm in and considering the content she shared, it was my responsibility to pass this on to my colleague. So, recently, I decided to just tell her what the client told me, and I could tell from her expression that she wasn't happy hearing what the client had said, but she was grateful knowing this, as she now knows what to change in her approach to make things more comfortable for the client.

Another example. Our boss is getting on the nerves of all colleagues, and a couple of days ago, we thought about addressing things during one of our work discussions about administrative tasks. We were nearing the end, and I noticed that no one took the step to say that there are some things on our minds that we wish to air. So, I decided to do exactly that. I got the ball rolling, and we all had our say, and that was another instance where I felt like I'm starting to get the hang of it. He himself (our boss) said that it's important to be honest about things that are bothering us. We still have a lot to say that we couldn't cover due to limited time, so we'll have more time to practice, as it so happens that most of my colleagues are struggling with being honest with others as well (when it comes to 'constructive feedback' or as Sandberg in the above quote says 'radical condour')! It's pretty cool that we're encouraging each other to practice this skill.

Of course, it depends on the situation, sometimes it's much better to not say the truth, and keep things to yourself in the way of external consideration towards the other person (and yourself). But in situations where honesty did matter, I had difficulty, and I'm now seeing that once I start doing it, it's really helpful. I thought to myself that when others are honest about my behavior, I take that and work on it. Yeah, it can hurt, but ultimately, it's information that when used, can lead to improvement in behavior and better relations with others.
 
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