Empathy is a Skill not a Talent

I was once talking with a friend about a conflict, for awhile, he was very empathic and at the same time inquisitive. After discussing much and entering into delicate matters he touched on a subject I was not very comfortable on and asked why he seemed very interested. After clarifying his stance, he sensed an underlying tone about the question and proceeded to apologize.

I don’t want this to turn into a misunderstanding between us. I overstepped and I’m sorry.

That was the exact phrase that melted my guard. No matter how much fumes I was exhuming, there was no way to go on the offense with someone that can bow down to an argument that well. I stepped back, reviewed the whole thing and understood his motives, it was clearer he was not against me but for me.

People with empathy are worth keeping

Because they know what to do when they have wronged you in whichever part of the process it may be. It helps you both grow as they admit fault, you see yours as well and you learn from it even in silence or space. Saying sorry is a skill that doesn’t lower your stance, value, honor or dignity but something that conveys the message that this relationship holds more value than my individuality. Of course, this has done be done in a transparent execution rather than offensive or defensive. It does wonders and rather than arguing why I’m right or why you’re wrong, it brings more amicable resolution between both parties because there’s a clear line between personal attack and personal improvement.

Proud people will put the blame on you

No matter if their actions were the cause of the problem, they would see your confrontation as the cause, and the conflict as the effect. When their happiness is far more important than your relationship, you know which category to place them on. Happiness should be shared in the context of a relationship, not kept for one. When someone chases for happiness on the expense of others, it is the formula for a lot of problems. You will spiral down to a loss of yourself in a life full of conflict.

So, pay attention of what has been done if it is a response or a decision. If it is caused by human intention for themselves, it is a decision, if you were affected by the action it is a response. Response are worth discussing because there’s a trigger than can be either improved or avoided. Working towards a common goal has always been one of the greatest achievement factor of humanity. It can be done when people agree on striving for the same goal.

People that sees change as an offensive process are left behind in maturity. While there can be charming attributes that goes with the lack of it, there are worse for ones when you find it necessary. You can choose to stay and guide them, some will bloom with gratitude, some wouldn’t. It’s your risk, sometimes the soil they have to grow on is not on your life, if so set them free. Easier said than done but they have to grow.

Empathy is not something that’s bestowed by birth, or found in genes. It is a skill that can be learned, you only have to see the world through the eyes of the other person. It’s not always easy but it’s always achievable to those who seek out to be one. Rely less on emotions, assess the argument with a sound mind and understand what the other person is going through. If it is irrational, just calm them down based on their fears. If it is with a point, affirm, apologize and proceed to discuss with pursuing resolution to solve it.

To empathize is not just to understand the effect but to find out the cause and provide a solution. It’s to find the root and make things right.

Like every skill, it’s not a supernatural blessing that you have to wait to be bestowed. It gets better with practice and preparation. The best execution is when you’re prepared for the inevitable and confrontations in life will always happen. Make the right mindset, choose to be humble.

Grow and be better each passing day.


Take the Cold Shower

I’ve never loved that chilling feeling that makes your skin crawl and your spine tingle, the way it wakes you up harshly like thousands of tiny needles puncturing your flesh but hey, it has it’s benefits.

Going to the shower is a staple in the schedule of a regular person. Although there’s a night shower cult, I will be talking to those that do it at the morning and are probably interested to do so after waking up in the morning.

To start, I’m a guy that loves hot showers: the steam, the warmth and the way it relaxes and makes me think is the perfect setting for me. I could stay in that kind of moment for an hour and never realize it. Meanwhile in a cold shower, I could only stand it till my lowest standards for feeling clean are met and I’m off that space.

So why am I asking you to take a cold shower?

Of course this may not be applicable for everyone especially for the soulless people that do cold showers as their staple. But here’s the thing: If you feel like you’re about to go against a giant in your life: a hard task, a strenuous day or a big huddle, you need to have that ball rolling, you need to feel like you can do it. Not all people have that strength to face big problems head on right away, but all people can face it once they have prepared for it.

Before you say “That’s it?”, here are scientific benefits of choosing the cold shower:

  • Improve Alertness
  • Relieves Depression
  • Healthier Skin and Hair
  • Better Blood Circulation

But beyond the benefits it gives to your body, the biggest one is the one it does to the way you think:

It gives you a sense of achievement that you’ve beaten yourself and that you are a winner.

There’s a high probability that if you’re into hot/warm temperatures that you will be giving yourself the best pep talk of your life before getting yourself wet. While most part of it is “You can do this” or “You’ll get through it” what’s important is that sense of encouragement that you believe in yourself. Because once you enter in that state of hell, you’re going to either have two moments: You’d have the epiphany of it isn’t so bad and you’ve managed to conquer your fears, or you’re going to have incoherent thoughts other than getting out of your misery. Regardless of the experience, what’s important is in the end. You won against you, and you have that first win of the day, all you need now is to make it count.


Don’t let your Environment Define you

Living in a very comfortable life with fast internet and the AC turned on almost every other day, I have lived thinking that is how life is supposed to be like and what I deserved for serving loyally. But this week is different: Today, as I guard the house of the successful man who has built that business, I live here living like he did: sweating in the Philippine heat while trying to find inspiration and motivation to work hard regardless of the noise and distractions. It wasn’t imposed by anyone that I should but it’s a matter of asking “How is it like to live like this entrepreneur?”

And I can after much exertion of active effort to concentrate, here I am writing this article to remind us all:

Your environment is not an excuse to not perform.

Let alone any external factors in fact. The only reason not to perform is because you don’t want to. Anyone who wants to make ways to do something can, if they want it. All it takes, while easier said than done, is desire and courage. I’m not a successful guy, but I try to be. I learn what it’s like to be and “comfort” doesn’t seem like anywhere in that path based on observations.

I used to believe I deserve a great life just because I’m good and I perform well. But did you ever realize that probably most if not all of your co-workers think they perform well on their own standards? If we all deserve great for doing good, you’re using unjust scales. Successful people don’t become who they are by doing what everyone else does, they do things differently and risk. While all variables remain the same, it’s their mindset and actions that makes them skyrocket above the population.

Success is different to everyone: the goals they set and the standards they place. To the poor man, having a standard recurring income can already be a criteria for success. To the employee having a business could be the definition of success. To the entrepreneur creating 5 successful startups could be the definition of success. Regardless, to each one their own, but no one achieves it just because all the domino was just in place, someone needs to have the courage to see above the risk and push the first block.

It’s not about how shitty your workplace is, how poor you are or how much bad events are entering your life, yes it sucks there will be lows but it’s the way you perceive matters that matters. You can rise above all only if you strike up the courage to do so. Failure is not the absence of success but of effort.

I believe one of the enemies of productivity is fear: fear of sending the wrong message, making the wrong solution or answer or finding more problems about work. To those seeking for success or a breakthrough, I know you’re itching for something but it’s not that you’re too lazy to get it but you’re too scared to go beyond your means. I say go do it, the fingers aligning the dominoes isn’t anyone else’s but yours.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela

Don’t feed your Demons

There’s demons inside all of us and we can be not aware of it.

In an age of increased awareness of mental health, I find it absolutely necessary to discuss to be aware of your thoughts. You can either control it, or be controlled by it. You choose whether you take a passive stance to let it grow or to actively fight against it and keep it small. Yes, there is a high chance it won’t go away ever, it will come back and linger, but just as if you starve it to death by giving it no attention or idleness to feed on, if you give it one hint of entertainment it will have any ground to nourish it’s power over you.

How do you starve it? Communicate your demons to others, to people you love especially. Let people understand so they can handle you well and care enough for you, to dispel your fears and soothe your hurt everytime it comes back. A memory is the past, it’s addicting to focus on it because you there is an absolute you can predict, but if you do you magnify what has already passed, you will only take another stab of what can’t be changed. A demon doesn’t have a reputation for what it is when you can overpower it by yourself. Humans have powers by numbers, even the Bible claimed this:

Genesis 11:6 states:

The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

Where you put your heart on it will be your priority, where your priority is is where you’ll give your time. If the the past hurts and you keep reminiscing on it, you do nothing but disfavor to your present, future, your heart and mind. You prioritize a demon that brings you absolutely no good but to turn your life to the worse while you will fail to realize the that love surrounds you. Make no mistake, yes you can be blinded by it. It maybe comfortable to bask on self-loathing but it’s not worth the trade for the longer run.

People love and people care. Out of all the 800 friends listed on your Facebook, at least 3 will try to care for you. And those 3 will be worth the courage to be transparent.

Not all people are communicative unfortunately. So for those who love, keep asking, keep reassuring. Learn to dig for dirt that was burried under deep, provide security and confidence. For those that are silent, take courage and speak. Love surpasses all risks and fears. Don’t ever forget, Demons feed on being alone, failure to communicate and feeding your fear. That is how a downfall begin: To your esteem, to your thoughts, your relationships and ultimately, yourself.

Don’t wait till you lose everything, start being aware of what your thoughts are. There is no demon too great to overcome if you’re not on his side anymore. Rally your friends and family, your loved ones and you will triumph guaranteed. I lost what I treasured to a Demon inside the mind. Don’t wait to lose yours, there’s no benefit to either you or everyone else around you when you let it linger and take root in your life.

The first step to healing is acceptance.