Lesson 3: On Empathy

Welcome to Class 3 where we will add to our soft skills toolkit by focusing on empathy! How is class for you thus far? Are you spending the necessary time to self-reflect? Can you find movement in your own thinking and perspective? Keep working at it either way…

 Ok… let’s start today back with our friends from Soul Pancake who use real science to communicate that science to a general audience in a fun, nonthreatening way. Today the topic is Empathy. View the 7-minute video below and I will catch you on the other side.

Neuroscience continues to be the bedrock of this total course, supporting the key concepts of gratitude, humility, and now empathy. This is the place in the lesson where I need to make the case for empathy to you my fine students… so read this an excellent article called The Case for Empathy by Elizabeth Segal. 

 Let’s take 5 minutes and write an entry to your journal using these questions. How do you experience empathy in your own mind’s eye? Is it easy for you to think about how another is experiencing or feeling when they speak to you? Do you believe you were naturally born as empathetic as you are or did you learn?

It is common for people to believe that empathy is a trait that one is born with; scientifically this would mean that most if not much of the reason for empathy would be genetic. This is a commonly held assumption yet more research suggests that our genes account for 10% or less of the variance, or reason for empathy.

This suggests it can be seen as a skill and thus taught. Read the short newspaper article below describing this research.

Let’s dig a bit further in to the science and read a short 3-page article describing this science.

Now… there is a part of my brain that is telling me that this has been a lot of reading or a lot of science for some of my students. You might be asking why this is important or why it might be important in today’s world as a career services professional. Let’s go to this excellent Ted Talk that describes this science in video format and ties it into the digital age. The presenter is a cognitive neuroscientist named Katri Saarikivi presenting the talk Empathy in the Digital Age in Helsinki. View the talk which is 15:29.

Let’s use the PowerPoint video this session to dig a little deeper into how we might apply empathy skills into our career services practice. View the dialogue below.

This content rich lesson session ends soon. I would be remiss if I did not allow you to (re)watch the most viral empathy video in history. This segment from the great Brené Brown has been set to a wonderful cartoon. View this and enjoy it and your day.

I hope you are looking to learning about Care in Lesson 4. Now that you have finished with Class 3, answer questions 7-9 on your worksheet. Mark the section complete and go to Lesson 4!