It dealt with the difference between empathy and – what I call – it’s close cousin, sympathy.
The lesson was included on one of the many audio programs of his I listened to early in my sales career that helped me to become a better salesperson and a more effective human being. In his typical wise and sagacious* manner, he explained the difference between the two words.
Zig used the example of being on a ship and coming across a fellow passenger suffering from a bout of sea-sickness. He explained that, if you have empathy, you’ll get him a washcloth, some aspirin and find the ship’s doctor.
However, if you have sympathy for him, you might feel so badly that you become part of the problem and get sick yourself.
(My apologies if I told that wrong. It’s been a while since I heard it. But, I assure you it does encapsulate the teaching.)
In other words, when we sympathize (and only sympathize) there is a danger of becoming a part of the problem.
When we empathize, we are much more likely to be part of the solution.
* Finally, an opportunity to use “sagacious” in a sentence. 🙂