Your ability to see things from the viewpoint of others is vital to your relationships with them whether they are within or outside your family or even informal or work relationships. Being empathic is about putting yourself in the shoes of others and trying to feel or experience what they are going through.
Empathy helps you to help others and move their lives forward. Those who achieve greatness outgrow selfcentredness and make significant contributions to the lives of others. You do not have to wait until you become a multimillionaire or billionaire before you can impact lives positively; you can start with what you have and where you are right now.
Kevin Carter was a photojournalist in South Africa and his most popular work was a direct result of his empathic nature. In 1993, he had an opportunity (given to him by a friend who got the offer from the United Nations) to report on the famine in Sudan during the civil war and he took one of the most heartrending pictures the world has ever seen.
Carter photographed a little boy that was so famished and impoverished that he couldn’t walk but had to crawl to a UN food centre that was still many miles away. Just a few metres away from the crawling boy was a vulture waiting to scavenge on his corpse and Carter was deeply moved by this horrible sight.
Just a few metres away from the crawling boy was a vulture waiting to scavenge on his corpse and Carter was deeply moved by this horrible sight. He chased the vulture away and the boy managed to survive. This photograph brought the attention of the world to the suffering and agony in Sudan and many people were interested in the boy’s fate after the picture was published by the New York Times.
In 1994, this photograph won a Pulitzer Prize (an annual American award of repute given for excellence in journalism, literature and music) and this would not have been possible if Carter had not shown personal concern for the welfare of the poor boy (who he initially considered to be a girl). At the end of the day, the world will remember you for what you did for others and not necessarily what you did for yourself. Show personal concern for those around you and be willing to help in any way that you can.
Bill Gates, in partnership with likeminded billionaires, has established a social initiative known as Giving Pledge whose purpose is for signatories to give away at least half of their wealth to charitable causes. Personally, Gates wants to solve global problems that are often ignored by governments and other business and nonbusiness organisations . He also wants to give away about 95% of his wealth and all of these efforts and initiatives emanate from his personal concern and empathy for the world’s poor.
Ebi Benjamin is an author, trainer and speaker. As a dynamic human resource professional, he has been involved in numerous training and recruitment assignments for small and medium-sized firms. He is the founder and president at Knowledge & Impact, a training firm based in Lagos, Nigeria.