The E in DESTINY is for Empathy. It is another characteristic that Daniel Plink is predicting we will need in this new world of ours. Empathy is a skill that can be developed and it is also something that we learn in our family of origin. It is often confused with sympathy, but feeling sorry for someone is not the same as feeling what they are feeling… working to understand the world from their perspective. Getting over into the other persons shoes takes an ability to let go of your own perspective as the only possible one. Some people get stuck there. They can’t seem to grasp that the world is not as they see it and experience it. They don’t know that other people experience it differently.

I think that is why teaching the Enneagram is so important. It teaches people to value what they are not. It creates the awareness of different perspectives which explain the different reactions and responses that people have to the same stimulus. That is my sociological bent on the Enneagram as a tool for looking at the social struggler and the social behaviour in conversation with others. You can teach people to be aware of the differences. Is someone coming toward you or moving with you or moving away? Are they oriented to the past, the present or the future? Their direction and orientation will help you determine what they are looking for in the social acts like conversation.

Knowing the Enneagram helps increase the likelihood that you will develop a sense of empathy and an ability to relate in a deeper more meaningful way with others. It allows you to see the world from that perspective by practicing that very skill.

I remember an observation exercise in my PhD program where we were asked to describe an object from one position in the room. The task was to describe exactly what you saw and not what you knew was there. Then we moved to a new position and again described just what we saw. It was a powerful exercise which I repeat in our classes but we look at a situation rather than an object and we physically place ourselves around the circle of the Enneagram describing the situation from the perspective we are standing on before moving to another position and making a different assessment from the new perspective. It is a powerful exercise to improve our skills related to empathy.

Daniel Pink talks a lot about why empathy is important in our new world and about how it is a right brain activity. The facts on the left side of the brain being analyzed or experienced on the right side to create a connection with another human being and their experiences is not something you can out source or ask a computer to do. It is a human experience and those who are good at it will thrive according to Pink. It is something that PULSE professionals do.

Advertisements