Feed Your Cognitive Empathy

An inquisitive nature, which predisposes us to learn from everybody, feeds our cognitive empathy, amplifying our understanding of other people’s worlds.

Daniel Goleman, Focus

One of the most challenging things to figure out is where we have blind spots - where we do not see things clearly; where we’re making false assumptions based on some alchemy of facts & fears & experience; where we don’t know what we don’t know.

When we sign up for this entrepreneurial journey, it can seem at times that we’ve concurrently signed up to be Person Who Has All The Answers. It takes approximately fourteen seconds to realize we’re ill-equipped to be that person, & a couple of years before we’re fully exhausted by pretending we are.

The best among us close that gap more quickly by becoming the type of person other smart people want to work alongside. They close it by inviting others into their blind spots & handing them a flashlight. They close it by becoming the Person Who Asks All The Questions.

The tricky bit: We can’t simultaneously have all the answers & ask all the questions.

Smart people need to know they have the space to make an impact. So before we can build better teams, we first have to demonstrate an awareness of our blind spots. We have to show a willingness to admit to the ocean of things we don’t yet understand. We have to redesign the mental picture we have of what it means to be a leader, transforming it from the image of someone out in front of the pack, barking orders, to that of someone in the middle of the pack, listening.

Patrick Cummings