A collective lack of empathy and critical thinking is tearing our country at the seams. We can and must do better.

Empathy and critical thinking reinforce and strengthen one another. The lack of either undermines the other as well.

Empathy is the ability to recognize the emotions or feelings of another person, even if you don’t fully understand why they’re feeling it and regardless of whether you agree with them. Critical thinking is the ability to “step back” from one’s own thinking and honestly evaluate whether it is sound, rational, and unbiased.

When empathy is missing, other people become an annoyance, a distraction, even a threat or enemy. Their humanity is reduced, from our perspective, and it’s much easier to want to deny them a raise, health care, citizenship, reproductive rights, and the like.

When critical thinking is missing, especially if there’s no empathy, we constantly reinforce our own biases and beliefs and limit ourselves to people, media, and environments that contribute to the reinforcement.

Don’t be that person who lacks empathy or critical thinking or, heaven forbid, both. Practice the cultivation of each. Daily.

It’s the right thing to do. And if that’s not enough motivation, I promise you’ll be much happier and successful as well.

Growing Your Strengths

I’m a Nashville-based writer, talent strategist, and certified executive coach. On this website, I primarily write stories featuring a diverse group of professionals whose examples of applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling will help you love your career and enhance your quality of life.

These characters face familiar pain points: nonstop change, accelerating economic and technological disruption, and the collective “noise” that grows louder each day. The impact, for these professionals and for many of us, has been confusion, distraction, and stress.

Until, however, each of these individuals chooses to do something new: practicing mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling habits, and growing them into strengths…strengths that respond to change rather than just react.

Strengths that you can develop as well.

Don’t settle for the confusion, distraction, and stress. You’re stronger than that, and capable of much more.

Choose to do something new. Today. Start with this post, check out my books, and join our learning community to receive free, exclusive content via email each month with timely guidance on applying mindfulness, learning agility, and storytelling.



John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.