Empathy Heroes: 5 People Who Changed the World By Taking Compassion to the Extreme


From YES! Magazine: “Ever heard of ’empathy marketing’? Itā€™s the latest business buzzword. The idea is that if companies can look through their clientsā€™ eyes and understand their desires, they will be better able to tailor their offerings and gain a competitive advantage.

To me, this is stepping into someone elseā€™s shoes just to sell them another pair.

I believe that the best use of empathy is not in the commercial world but in the social one, where it allows us to challenge prejudices and create political change.

And if you look through history, there are some extraordinary figures who have harnessed this power by engaging in what I think of as ‘experiential empathy.’ This is where you donā€™t justĀ imagineĀ someone elseā€™s life (a practice technically known as ‘cognitive empathy’) but try to live it yourself, doing the things they do, living in the places where they live, and knowing the people they know.

You might also call an experience of this nature an ’empathy immersion.’ Itā€™s like empathy as an extreme sportā€”one far more exciting and adventurous than ice climbing or sky diving.

So here is my top-five list of people who took empathy to the extreme, showing how it can transform the social and political landscape.”

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