Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.Daniel Goleman
School success is not predicted by a child's fund of facts or a precocious ability to read as much as by emotional and social measures; being self-assured and interested: knowing what kind of behavior is expected and how to rein in the impulse to misbehave; being able to wait, to follow directions, and to turn to teachers for help; and expressing needs while getting along with other children.Daniel Goleman
A belligerent samurai, an old Japanese tale goes, once challenged a Zen master to explain the concept of heaven and hell. The monk replied with scorn, "You're nothing but a lout - I can't waste my time with the likes of you!"Daniel Goleman
His very honor attacked, the samurai flew into a rage and, pulling his sword from its scabbard, yelled "I could kill you for your impertinence."
"That," the monk calmly replied, "is hell."
Startled at seeing the truth in what the master pointed out about the fury that had him in its grip, the samurai calmed down, sheathed his sword, and bowed, thanking the monk for the insight.
"And that,"said the monk "is heaven."
The sudden awakening of the samurai to his own agitated state illustrates the crucial difference between being caught up in a feeling and becoming aware that you are being swept away by it. Socrates's injunction "Know thyself" speaks to the keystone of emotional intelligence: awareness of one's own feelings as they occur.
The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today.Daniel Goleman
That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.)
Harvard's Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. 'Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,' Kagan notes, 'they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture – especially toward those in need.' This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, 'is a biological feature of our species.
Born: March 7, 1946