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Why Compassion Matters (Even in Business) – Nerdful Mind #134

August 7, 2022 by Simon Mannes

One reason to practice mindfulness is to get to know yourself - and thus others - better.

This understanding helps us become more compassionate.

Compassion is important in product development. Author and ex Google engineer Yonatan Zunger expressed the reason for this beautifully:

“Engineering is not the art of building devices; it’s the art of fixing problems. Devices are a means, not an end. Fixing problems means first of all understanding them — and since the whole purpose of the things we do is to fix problems in the outside world, problems involving people, that means that understanding people, and the ways in which they will interact with your system, is fundamental to every step of building a system.” – Yonatan Zunger (source)

Reading Recommendations

“Self-love is an antidote for self-pity” [PDF]

An interview with compassion experts Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer.

The Psychology of Emotional and Cognitive Empathy

“While there is no clear consensus, it’s likely that empathy involves multiple processes that incorporate both automatic, emotional responses and learned conceptual reasoning. Depending on context and situation, one or both empathetic responses may be triggered.”

So, about this Googler’s manifesto.

“Essentially, engineering is all about cooperation, collaboration, and empathy for both your colleagues and your customers. If someone told you that engineering was a field where you could get away with not dealing with people or feelings, then I’m very sorry to tell you that you have been lied to. Solitary work is something that only happens at the most junior levels, and even then it’s only possible because someone senior to you — most likely your manager — has been putting in long hours to build up the social structures in your group that let you focus on code.”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

Try out a three-step self-compassion break. Think of a situation in your life that is causing you stress or pain. How does thinking of this situation make you feel? Then say to yourself:

  1. “This is a moment of suffering” – Or “This hurts.”
  2. “Suffering is part of life. I'm not alone.” – Put your hands over your heart, feel your breath and the warmth of your hands.
  3. “May I be kind to myself” – Which kind words can you say to yourself right now? Say what you need to hear, e.g. “may I be kind to myself” or “may I be patient”.

Thanks to

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: What do you think about this? Please hit reply and let me know. I’m curious!