00:03:07 Can I just observe without judgment or evaluation?
00:07:41 Brian Grazer is the author of the bestseller A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life.
00:10:39 Type 1: Diversive Curiosity This refers to being attracted to novelty.
00:11:03 Type 2: Epistemic Curiosity Epistemology is the philosophical branch of inquiry related to the theory of knowledge itself.
00:11:51 Type 3: Empathic Curiosity The type we are interested in here.
00:14:16 Keep the Spark of Curiosity Alive
00:17:25 Resist Superficiality
00:20:47 No Such Thing as Boring
00:21:26 Artist and composer John Cage gives this advice: “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four.
00:23:51 Random Acts of Kindness • Avoid psychologizing. When we interpret people’s experiences, we are no longer fully listening to them.
• Empathy is impossible without curiosity. Curiosity is about more than asking questions—it’s about having a sincere desire to understand someone else’s heart, mind, and complete experience. It requires imagination, a hunger to learn, and an open mind.
• The main thing that gets in the way of real curiosity in empathic listening is the impulse to insert our own opinion, perspective, or frame of reference into the conversation. Imagine that learning to be interested in others is not a boring challenge, but a gift and an opportunity.
• There are three kinds of curiosity: diversive (interest in novelty), epistemic (deeper inquiry into knowledge itself), and empathic. Whenever you notice mild interest in novelty, see if you can explore and amplify it till it becomes richer empathic curiosity.
• Keep the spark of curiosity alive by consistently asking why, digging beneath the superficiality of a situation, and challenging yourself to see nothing as boring.
• Random acts of kindness can make us more empathic. Try to be more alert to other people’s needs and respond spontaneously to them.
• Kindness is a shift from focus on the self to focus on the other. Continually ask yourself, “How are other people doing? What do they need?”
#Empathy #Curiosity #RussellNewton #NewtonMG #PatrickKing #PatrickKingConsulting #SocialSkillsCoaching #TrainYourEmpathy
I'm Russell and this is social skills coaching where you learn to be more likable more charismatic and more productive today is Tuesday March 21st. today's episode is pulled from train your empathy by Patrick King and we learned that empathy is impossible without curiosity this is a longer than usual episode so let's take a deep dive into curiosity Without curiosity, empathy isn’t possible. Have you ever been in conversation with someone who threw question after question at you but didn’t make much of an effort to actually listen to your answers? Have you ever had someone say they understand what you’re feeling when you can tell they don’t understand at all? Curiosity is about more than asking questions or saying the right words—it’s about having a sincere desire to understand someone else’s heart, mind, and complete experience.Speaker:
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of fake interest or attention that was given out of a sense of politeness or duty, you’ll know that when it comes to empathy, the curiosity has to be genuine. In this chapter, we’ll look at some concrete techniques and approaches to cultivate deeper curiosity for those around us ... however, it’s not really a question of technique, but of mindset. Real curiosity is like an existential orientation. It’s what allows us to be enthralled by the unknown, to be drawn toward something unfamiliar to us, and to open respectfully and with inquisitiveness to something that is outside our normal range of perception. If you wonder about what is going on in someone else’s head (curiosity), you have already gone halfway to reaching out to them, understanding them, and responding with compassion (empathy).Speaker:
When we are a little too comfortable in our own narrow and automatic assumptions about life, it can take a conscious effort to let that all go and instead dig a little deeper to what lies under the surface. It requires imagination—What is it really like to be a completely different person than the one I am? And it requires a hunger to know and a determination to dig for a richer comprehension—WHY did this person do such-and-so? What does it mean to them? Finally, it requires an open mind—Can I put my own fixed beliefs and ideas aside and immerse in theirs?Speaker:
Can I just observe without judgment or evaluation? Take a look at this conversation: A: “My parents were entering me in beauty pageants since before I could walk. That was when we still lived in China. All my life, I’ve been taught to focus on my appearance, so now that I’m getting a bit older, I realize that I’m terrified of aging. But it’s not a vanity thing—I think I genuinely don’t know how to engage with people as someone who’s ... well, not pretty, you know?"Speaker:
B: “I know exactly what you mean." It seems pretty empathic on the surface, but if B is a middle-aged professional man who’s never given a thought to his appearance, it is highly unlikely that he does know what A means. How could he? Here, empathy is offered but without curiosity—Person A may feel like they’ve been cut short or given an obligatory platitude that doesn’t really mean anything. Instead, consider this conversation: A: “My parents were entering me in beauty pageants since before I could walk.Speaker:
That was when we still lived in China. All my life, I’ve been taught to focus on my appearance, so now that I’m getting a bit older, I realize that I’m terrified of aging. But it’s not a vanity thing—I think I genuinely don’t know how to engage with people as someone who’s ... well, not pretty, you know?" B: “Woah, beauty pageants since before you could walk? How does that even work?"Speaker:
A: “Well, you know, baby pageants and things! It’s kind of crazy." B: “I see. I guess I always thought that that kind of thing was an American phenomenon. Is it popular over there?"Speaker:
A: “No, not hugely popular ... but I think it’s becoming more popular." B: “So if you’re involved in that from the time you’re a baby ... just trying to understand what that must feel like. What did your parents tell you? Like, how did they explain what was happening?"Speaker:
A: “I know, it’s pretty weird. But that’s exactly it—when you’re young, you just go with it. It took me a long time to realize that that was not normal." B: “I’m trying to imagine how it was like for you. Were you there as a toddler, thinking, I hope I look pretty enough?Speaker:
Is that how it was?" A: “Kind of. It was more a feeling of not wanting to disappoint my parents, I think. Even as a very young kid, you can feel that expectation. It’s hard to explain."Speaker:
B: “Oh, I’m sure. But I think I know exactly what you mean." In this case, Person B may sincerely know what Person A means; even though they cannot begin to imagine what the world of Chinese child beauty pageants is like, they do know how it feels to be pressured by parents. After a few genuinely curious questions and open-minded listening, by the time Person B says, “I know exactly what you mean,” Person A is likely to believe it. When we are curious, we are open-mindedly observing what is in front of us and gathering as much information as possible.Speaker:
Whereas empathy is the message, “How you feel matters to me,” curiosity sends the message, “I want to really, truly understand how you feel." The main thing that gets in the way of real curiosity in empathic listening is the impulse to insert our own opinion, perspective, or frame of reference into the conversation. Notice how Person B in the above conversation doesn’t launch into a speech about their own feelings toward child beauty pageants, and they also don’t run off on a tangent about what they know of this phenomenon in America. They don’t share an experience of that one time they entered the school talent competition, or about their views on a documentary they watched last year about eating disorders. They simply listen and ask questions.Speaker:
Brian Grazer is the author of the bestseller A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life. He says, “We are all trapped in our own way of thinking. Trapped in our own way of relating to people. We get so used to seeing the world our own way, we come to think that the world is the way that we see it." It’s so easy to dismiss the perspectives of other people in favor of our own.Speaker:
If you have difficulty caring about other people’s perspectives, however, remind yourself that empathic conversation is a brilliant opportunity—a chance to peek outside the limits of your own skull and learn something that you could never teach yourself. Learning to be interested in others is not a boring challenge, but a gift. Understanding this will allow you to make the mindset shift into being a genuinely curious and empathic listener. You will know that you’ve made the shift because when you are curious, you will witness that people almost seem to “bloom” in your presence. When you behold another person with openness and an inquiring, receptive mind, you invite them to be themselves.Speaker:
You give them permission to express their reality. What’s more, you encourage them to be curious about their own mental states. Sometimes, your questions can be the very catalyst to inspiring a certain mindset shift in them. In this way, curiosity combined with empathy doesn’t just create good vibes and connection—it can solve problems, kindle creativity, and shine light on new, unexplored insights. In his book Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends on It, author Ian Leslie says, “The true beauty of learning stuff, including apparently useless stuff, is that it takes us out of ourselves, reminds us that we are part of a far greater project, one that has been underway for at least as long as human beings have been talking to each other.Speaker:
Other animals don’t share or store their knowledge like we do. Orangutans do not reflect on the history of the orangutan; London’s pigeons have not adopted ideas on navigation from pigeons in Rio de Janeiro. We should all feel privileged to have access to a deep well of species memory. As comedian Stephen Fry suggests, it’s foolish not to take advantage of it." Three Types of Curiosity Let’s take a closer look at what we mean when we say a person is curious.Speaker:
According to Leslie, there are three broad types. Type 1: Diversive Curiosity This refers to being attracted to novelty. Whenever we’re inspired to explore new places, new food, or new activities, it’s usually this type of curiosity driving us. It’s a kind of beginner’s feeling, though, and is usually just the igniting spark that begins a more thorough investigation. Type 2: Epistemic Curiosity Epistemology is the philosophical branch of inquiry related to the theory of knowledge itself.Speaker:
In other words, it’s about gaining knowledge and how we gain knowledge—where it comes from, what it looks like, its limits, and so on. Naturally, this is curiosity pitched at a much deeper level than the mere thrill of novelty, and is much more structured and directed than the open-ended desire to ask, “What’s this?" Epistemic curiosity requires conscious effort and work—It can be a challenge to question and analyze the very foundation you are standing on when you ask those questions! Type 3: Empathic Curiosity The type we are interested in here. This is the ability to consciously inquire into someone else’s lived experience.Speaker:
Their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. In a way, it is not unlike epistemic curiosity, where we delve deeply into the rules on which the philosophy of knowledge is run. But in the case of empathic curiosity, we are narrowing our focus to one specific individual. What is the world they live in, and what are its organizing principles? How is meaning structured in their universe, and on what beliefs (laws) is it ordered?Speaker:
To demonstrate the difference between these three, imagine that you meet a new person at a party and start talking to them. Diversive curiosity makes you wonder things like, “Hm, I wonder if he’s single,” or, “I wonder where she got that awesome T-shirt from." Epistemic curiosity might make you ask questions like, “I wonder if we could ever see eye to eye, her being a Scientologist and all ... or, “I wonder what he thinks of me." Empathic curiosity shows up in questions like, “I wonder why she chose Scientology in the first place,” or, “I wonder what it’s like sincerely believing in a religion that so many people happily mock."Speaker:
Here’s an exercise to try: The next time you find yourself in diversive curiosity, see if you can challenge yourself to find some further empathic curiosity for the subject at hand. Every time you idly think, “I wonder why ... follow that thought and see where it takes you! To be excellent listeners, we need to show curiosity, but it also needs to be a deep and more sophisticated form of curiosity than being idly interested in something a little new or unusual. For example, your new date may be “curious” about you, but there’s a big difference between wanting to know what makes you tick as a human being, and just being nosy about what you look like naked!Speaker:
Keep the Spark of Curiosity Alive Most of the strategies we explore in this book are best practiced with real people out there in the real world. But curiosity is a personal characteristic that you can develop on your own, knowing that it will indirectly benefit every social connection in your life. In fact, relationships aren’t the only thing that will improve with a hearty dose of curiosity—if you can maintain an open mind and a receptive attitude, expect to feel more creative, more optimistic, more inspired, and more resilient in every area of your life. The good news is that you were born curious. It’s your birth right as a human being!Speaker:
All you need to do is put some kindling on that fire. Here are some ways to flex the curiosity muscle, and what that might look like when extended to your connections with others. Focus on WHY “Why” is like a powerful pickaxe that lets you dig right down to the deep and meaningful stuff. As children, it seems like we ask why once a minute, but as adults, we stop—maybe because we wrongly assume we already know the answer. Asking why is a humble, fearless act—humble because it acknowledges that we don’t know everything, and fearless because we’re willing to face the unknown.Speaker:
Ask big whys, but ask small ones too (hint: sometimes it’s the smallest ones that turn into the biggest!). Imagine your mother-in-law gave you an item for your new baby, but the baby has now outgrown it, so you say you’ll sell the item since it’s no longer needed. The mother-in-law angrily demands the gift back, and you’re hurt—isn’t it yours? Your own perspective tells you that it’s utterly rude to ask for a gift back, but in empathy and curiosity, you understand that this is not your mother-in-law’s perspective. Instead of arguing, you ask sincerely “Why?"Speaker:
What does it mean to her? You realize that the item has sentimental value, and that in selling it, it would be as if she was no longer needed in the child’s life. By holding on to the gift, she feels that she is getting to preserve a very meaningful part of the child’s life for posterity. It all makes sense to you, and you can now act empathically. Try it yourself: The next time you’re angry with someone or can’t understand their actions, ask WHY.Speaker:
Not why from your perspective, but from theirs. You might be surprised by the empathy you’re then capable of. Resist Superficiality Sadly, in our digital age, we are seldom encouraged to be deep, subtle thinkers, but to instead skim over complexity, make snap judgments based on sound bites and sensationalist headlines, and smooth over nuance with lazy assumptions. But this is not what life is really like, and it’s not what people are like. The internet gives us all a false sense of knowledge—we glide over the shallow superficialities and, when things get difficult or complex, we skip along to the next thing, never really challenging ourselves or staying with one idea to explore it in the depth it deserves.Speaker:
In other words, our attention spans are short. And it makes us feel that we know more about any one phenomenon than we actually do. This translates to how we deal with one another. We look at a complicated, multi-faceted human being and reduce them to a few simple stereotypes. She’s a liberal feminist type.Speaker:
He’s one of those crypto currency guys. They are homeschooling their kids—and you know what that means, right? Judgment kills empathy. Assumptions kill curiosity. Right now, you could probably think of things about yourself that don’t fit “the mold."Speaker:
Maybe you’re a mom of seven, but maybe you’re also a world-renowned bioethicist who is a key architect in your country’s health policies. Maybe you have a body full of tattoos, a garage full of custom Harleys ... and a flourishing Etsy business where you sell handsewn dog costumes. You get the idea—people are complex. If you are, then so are others. Commit to finding out how they don’t fit the mold, either.Speaker:
Assume that people will surprise you, and they often do! Try it yourself: Think of someone you know or have just met. Ask yourself what you are assuming about them. Then, simply turn this into a question instead so that it doesn’t shut down the discovery process, but inspires it. For example, instead of just thinking to yourself, “This guy is an evangelical Christian.Speaker:
I bet he’s probably a bit weird about gay people ... turn that into a genuine question. “So, I’m curious, what is your church’s position on homosexuality? I hope that’s not a rude question, but I’ve been genuinely wondering about it ... Authentic curiosity and interest will almost always be welcome, but you may also be surprised to learn that your knee-jerk assumptions are completely unfounded.Speaker:
“Well, people are pretty tolerant. To be honest, I grew up atheist and gravitated to the church only a few years ago, and they were very accepting. Oh, uh, I’m gay, by the way." No Such Thing as Boring When you’re a kid, you can be held in rapt attention by a soap bubble, a bug on a leaf, or someone pulling a funny face. Try to recapture that same sense of finding everything interesting.Speaker:
Because it is! Here’s a secret: Things often seem boring precisely because we’re not paying attention to them. Think about that: It is our intense interest and curiosity that transforms the world we behold. Artist and composer John Cage gives this advice: “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight.Speaker:
Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." When you are curious, there is no such thing as a boring person or a boring story. Nothing is so irrelevant that it doesn’t warrant your respectful attention.Speaker: lion at a New York auction in: Speaker: vely for stamp collectors. In: Speaker:
You might not, but isn’t it noteworthy that they do? Random Acts of Kindness Hopefully, you are beginning to see that cultivating a mindset of kindness, compassion, and true empathy is far, far more than just familiarity with a set of tricks and techniques. Being empathic is about being still (i.e., getting our own ego and biases out of the way), being reflective, and being curious. But it’s also, at a very basic level, about kindness. Think about the reason you picked up this book in the first place—deep down, you probably shared that noble instinct that belongs to all humans: the instinct to serve, to help, to share, to love, and to be kind.Speaker:
Sure, you may have the goal of becoming a better listener and enriching your own personal relationships. But the irony of being more empathic is that it is a goal that’s purely for other people’s benefit. It’s a kind of giving that you do without the expectation of being rewarded. In other words, you want to be a better listener and more engaging conversationalist not so that people will like you and think you’re charming, but so that people will feel good (of course, you may well get all those other benefits as a side effect ... ).Speaker:
In this chapter, we’ll be looking at a powerful and effective way to help shape a more empathic mindset. You can change how you behave in the world by changing your mindset, but you can also change your mindset by changing how you act in the world. If you have enough discipline to regularly apply yourself to the task of being kind to others every day, you can’t help but grow in empathy and warmth. Empathy is the basis for kindness... but being kind first can also kindle the fires of empathy. You may be surprised to discover that the more you volunteer, give to charity, and help out, the easier it is to listen, reflect, and empathize with people on a more abstract level.Speaker:
In essence, it’s a “fake it before you make it” strategy: You are acting as though you are an empathic person even if you don’t quite have the full mindset just yet. It doesn’t matter, because in time, you will. Your empathy will grow with each kind action. And the more your empathy grows, the more sincere those actions will become. Kindness is a quality of the soul.Speaker:
It’s a spirit of wanting to be helpful for its own sake. When you are kind and charitable, though, something else happens: You expose yourself to people who are less fortunate than yourself. By immersing a little in their reality, you start to gain a different perspective on your own—congratulations! Not only does this help you foster more genuine understanding of other people’s pain, but it will give you a more rounded look on your own assumptions, biases, and blind spots. When we are kind, we feel better, the other person feels better, and we release a sense of positivity out into the world.Speaker:
Those people are then more likely to be kind, and our actions ripple out. When we listen with kind and non-judgmental attention to someone, they are all the more able to consider themselves with the same care and respect, as well as carry that generous mindset to everyone else they encounter. Okay, so what does “be kind” actually look like? Well, the world is your oyster! Here are some ideas to get you started: •If you’re in line at a coffee shop, offer to pay for the person behind you.Speaker:
•When you’re walking in the street, smile warmly at people who pass you by. •Challenge yourself to give someone a (genuine) compliment every day. •Scroll through your contacts list and see who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Then, pick three people to reach out to. Tell them something to make them smile, ask how they’re doing, or even consider giving them a gift or posting them a handwritten letter.Speaker:
•Pass on any unused coupons, gift cards with a remaining balance, or parking tickets that still have time on them. Leave a little change in the vending machine or at the laundromat. What you don’t really need may make a world of difference to someone in a pinch. •Give your home a much-needed tidy up while at the same time putting together a box of items to go to the charity store. If you haven’t used it in more than a year, you won’t miss it, yet it may be sorely needed by someone else.Speaker:
•Create spontaneous good vibes in your neighborhood. Form a heart shape out of stones on your daily walk in the woods, leave an inspiring handwritten poem on someone’s windshield, write “you’re doing great” in the beach sand, or tie a flower onto a stop sign with a ribbon. •Take a moment to create a few care packages, including non-perishable food, warm socks and gloves, and a few treats. Go out on a cold morning and hand them to the first homeless people you meet. •Offer someone your seat on the bus or train—they don’t have to be elderly or pregnant, either!Speaker:
•At work, think about two people in your network who don’t know each other, but who may benefit from meeting. Introduce them—you could start something wonderful. •Keep track of people’s birthdays and make sure that you always send good wishes. For many people, birthdays are especially hard, and they may feel completely forgotten. •Think carefully about the ideas or issues in the world that most speak to your heart.Speaker:
Then, ask yourself what you could be doing to make a difference in that area. Seek out volunteer opportunities or explore ways that your resources, expertise, or simply your presence could be put to good use. •Spare a thought for the people who have been kind to you. Is it maybe time to reach out and show your gratitude to them? Is there someone you’ve been taking for granted?Speaker:
•Consider this: Forgiveness is also an act of kindness. If someone has done you wrong and you feel legitimately upset, consciously decide to let it go instead. •Charity starts at home. Pay attention to what is going on with your neighbors and in your community. Can you walk someone’s dog, help out with a lift, donate a dinner, or step in to do emergency childcare?Speaker:
•Keep elderly folk in your thoughts. Show them your appreciation by seeking their advice or asking them to teach you something or share a skill. These days, we all run to Google, but in the past, we treated elders as a source of knowledge and wisdom. Consulting someone in this way (even if it’s just to ask for a recipe or get advice on stain removal) is a great way to show kindness—and may be appreciated far more than trying to help them! •Consider joining a charity where you can act as a Big Brother or Big Sister for a child who needs mentorship and guidance.Speaker:
•Help animals—yes, our empathy doesn’t have to be limited to humans! It matters even if all you do is rescue an ant from drowning or put out a dish of water and some food for the backyard strays. Animals are excellent teachers of empathy because they are nonverbal and challenge us to pay attention to raw, unmediated experience, not to the superficial. •Give anonymously. In empathy, we may notice that to be the recipient of our charity is sometimes made uncomfortable, and this brings up feelings of shame, or else changes the social dynamic in tricky ways.Speaker:
So, give someone the gift of not knowing who helped them. It brings a little magic, wonder, and gratitude into the world—and keeps your ego out of it! You can probably think of many, many more ideas for ways to bring kindness to both those closest to you and to those you don’t even know. But as you try some of them, you may realize that the best actions are those that arise spontaneously from a genuine feeling of generosity within you. They are also the kind of acts that are responsive—they emerge in the very moment when another person’s need is greatest.Speaker:
For this, you need to be aware of other people and their needs. One way to strengthen this awareness is to continually ask yourself, “How are other people doing right now?" You can do this when you wake up in the morning, or you can do it spontaneously in any social interaction as it unfolds. This awareness of and sensitivity to other people’s emotional states and needs are the foundation for genuine empathy (plus, it prevents us from doing that kind of “help” that the other person doesn’t actually want or need ... ).Speaker:
For example, you notice that a colleague at work is having an extremely hard time juggling their schedule and childcare duties. Being aware that they have a deadline coming up, you step in and finish up their work for them while they tend to an emergency at home. Knowing that they already feel on edge about it all, you don’t offer and make a big show of your charity. You just do it and save them the trouble. Maybe you notice a man in a wheelchair having difficulty with his dog’s leash.Speaker:
You step in quickly and help him untangle it, giving him a warm smile before you walk off again. Or perhaps you remember that this time last year, your friend’s mother passed away. You give them a little extra love and attention, offering to take them out if they like, knowing they might appreciate the distraction and to be spoiled a little by a friend who cares. As you can see, all of the above examples rest on your awareness of another person’s needs. When you are getting the hang of being kind and empathic, you do much less planning and scheming, and far more responding to people’s emerging needs in the moment.Speaker:
This ability to be tuned into other people’s realities (rather than your own idea of what you think helping them should look like) is what characterizes a genuinely generous heart. The more you give in this way, the more you shape yourself into someone who is not just being empathic here and there, but who is really living an attitude of kind receptivity day after day. One of the biggest mindset shifts, then, is to go from asking the questions, “How can I be a kinder person? How can I be a better listener? How can I improve myself by being more compassionate?"Speaker:
to asking the questions, “Who around me needs help? What is that person thinking and feeling? What is it like to experience life from their point of view?" See the difference? Kindness, then, is about the shift from the focus on the self to the focus on the other.Speaker:
Summary •Avoid psychologizing. When we interpret people’s experiences, we are no longer fully listening to them. •Empathy is impossible without curiosity. Curiosity is about more than asking questions—it’s about having a sincere desire to understand someone else’s heart, mind, and complete experience. It requires imagination, a hunger to learn, and an open mind.Speaker:
•The main thing that gets in the way of real curiosity in empathic listening is the impulse to insert our own opinion, perspective, or frame of reference into the conversation. Imagine that learning to be interested in others is not a boring challenge, but a gift and an opportunity. •There are three kinds of curiosity: diversive (interest in novelty), epistemic (deeper inquiry into knowledge itself), and empathic. Whenever you notice mild interest in novelty, see if you can explore and amplify it till it becomes richer empathic curiosity. •Keep the spark of curiosity alive by consistently asking why, digging beneath the superficiality of a situation, and challenging yourself to see nothing as boring.Speaker:
•Random acts of kindness can make us more empathic. Try to be more alert to other people’s needs and respond spontaneously to them. •Kindness is a shift from focus on the self to focus on the other. Continually ask yourself, “How are other people doing? What do they need?"Speaker:
and that's this week's episode of social skills coaching join us next Tuesday for another episode from Patrick King thanks for listening