A Decline in Empathy

I read an article the other day in Fortune Magazine that talked about how employers are looking for new hires with empathy because this is apparently a decreasing skill that children are not being taught or are not learning. 

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. If only people had just a little more empathy this world would be a hugely different place. Like the not one but two jerks this morning who caused me to slam on my brakes on the freeway because they didn't want to get stuck behind a truck going 55 when they were merging onto the freeway. I was going 70 in the middle lane minding my own business about to pass said truck, and they both cut me off at the same time. Had I not slammed on my breaks the 2nd guy totally would have hit me. Had either one of them had any empathy at all for the folks around him instead of just thinking about themselves, things might have gone very differently. Chances are good that if he had hit me, he also would have blamed ME for the accident when it was he who would have run into me. It's just a good thing that I paying attention when this happened, otherwise I might have been spending my morning on the side of the freeway instead of heading into the office like normal. 

People not having empathy is a real problem. Some of the things I've read blame cubicle life and some blame our mobile devices which cause us to disconnect from the world directly in front of us. And I think there is a lot of truth to that. We are more connected than ever, yet more disconnected from each other. We choose to spend hours upon ours on social networks instead of calling up our friends and meeting for coffee or going out for drinks. I know we all get busy. I'm guilty of it too. I spend waaaay too much time trying to manage Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and responding to endless messages and emails, than I do actually hanging out with real flesh and blood. 

So how do we fix this? A lot of biz articles these days are talking about creating "experiences" for their customers. What this means in it's simplest form is that businesses need to come up with a way to make people FEEL something about their product. This is not a new concept but it does seem like it's increasingly harder to break through nowadays. We are so bombarded with ads and notifications and ways to distract ourselves, it's harder and harder for companies to connect with their audience, and it's harder and harder for us to connect with each other. 

As an artist, it's all about making people feel something. People love art because it transports them to a special place - that first kiss, a bad breakup, or that special moment they had with a parent or a mentor. It's about feeling something inside and making that visible to others so they can feel it in their own way. I want to connect with YOU, and not just through my music, but in a personal way.I already have my monthly Concert Window broadcast on the third Saturday of the month (follow me here for updates and reminders about shows), but I want to know who you are. What are your favorite movies? How do you spend your Friday nights? Are you a poet? Do you play guitar? Would you be interested in a more interactive experience such as a Skype chat or perhaps a "fan club" type deal where you get special treatment and a place to hangout with me and other Alex frans? Let me know what you think about this. I'm game if you are.

2 comments

  • Rob aka the canvasguru

    Rob aka the canvasguru Colorado

    Alex, that was very well put and a spot on description of what has happened. When I was a kid, its not like I wasn't wild becaue of the religious environment I was raised in however.....I was taught to respect people and that I did. I never said, shut up and die already to someone older than me, when I had a conversation I didn't agree with. I didn't come out of the womb blaming a generation I didn't even know. That attitude doesn't bode well for humanity period. I have hope and I will not change the person that I am because of other peoples actions. I love music and I actually played guitar for four years however, I put it down a long time ago. I wish you all the best Alex

    Alex, that was very well put and a spot on description of what has happened. When I was a kid, its not like I wasn't wild becaue of the religious environment I was raised in however.....I was taught to respect people and that I did.

    I never said, shut up and die already to someone older than me, when I had a conversation I didn't agree with. I didn't come out of the womb blaming a generation I didn't even know.

    That attitude doesn't bode well for humanity period. I have hope and I will not change the person that I am because of other peoples actions.

    I love music and I actually played guitar for four years however, I put it down a long time ago. I wish you all the best Alex

  • Alex Winters

    Alex Winters

    Thank you Rob! I can't believe some of the things I hear/see people saying to other people (and the things they say to me too). What ever happened to if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all? The art of conversation is also largely lost. People just don't respect other people anymore and that makes me very sad for humanity. It's refreshing to find another who share's my sentiments.

    Thank you Rob! I can't believe some of the things I hear/see people saying to other people (and the things they say to me too). What ever happened to if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all? The art of conversation is also largely lost. People just don't respect other people anymore and that makes me very sad for humanity. It's refreshing to find another who share's my sentiments.

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