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We Contain Multitudes

The more you learn about people the more you recognize we contain multitudes and I’m not talking about the book that discusses the bacteria and microbes living within us. I’m talking about the rich tapestry that forms each and every single one of us.

Recently, I was consistently reminded of the Arabic saying, “to3raful ashya2u bia9’dadiha’ [things are known by contrasting them against others]. The lack of compassion and empathy that some people exhibited was only drowned by the overflow of compassion and empathy others showed. And while I sat thinking, why do some of us go through life with little regard to the sentiments of others, I realize we’re all guilty…guilty of apathy…that nebulous thing that’s slowly consuming us thanks to the deluge of tragic scenes behind screens as though those screens inoculate us from life’s hardships.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we see ourselves as complex rich characters yet see others as binary beings; good or bad, kind or evil. Yet the reality is more complex than that.

We’re more like Snape than we would love to admit.

But where once you see people in singular roles, at some point you recognize they are much, much more than 3D bags of flesh and bones. They exist in 7D, with the first 4D delineating the physical and temporal space they occupy and the rest encompassing the heart, soul and mind.

What I find funny sometimes is when you deal with people whose job it is to deal with people (e.g. customer service), and yet they lack basic courtesy when they do. What’s worse is when they hide behind the apparent constraints of their jobs and say things like, “We’re only following instructions. We’re only doing our jobs.”

It’s funny because they fail to see the big picture of their jobs; which is to treat people right.

But do they get that?

Of course, not.

As companies, we can’t put profit before people, and I’m talking about both customers and employees. What’s beautifully reaffirming are all the PR nightmares coming out of huge corporations especially in Silicon Valley these past few months.

Seth Godin wrote a book called linchpin about being indispensable. In the book, he emphasizes the importance of people’s humanity when it comes to success in life. He defines art as the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person.

Thinking back to the people providing customer (dis)service in some places, such behavior should actually make you happy…

Because as automation takes over the world, guess who’ll be the first ones to be replaced?

Those who fail to inject empathy, compassion and humanity into their jobs.

“Obviously,” as Snape would drawl.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Tweet me @ahechoes to let me know.

I’m currently reading Peak by Chip Conley. Follow my Instagram Stories as well as twitter @ahechoes where I share snippets of wisdom from books I read.

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Published inLeadershipLife LessonsPersonal Development