When it is good how to be better

Creative Emphaty 2/2

How we react when another human being suffers or is in trouble, and how we could react was the topic of the post “Do you know to lead – in suffering and passion”. In this text, we will deal with the topic of how to make something that is well better, with the help of creative empathy.

If we react to someone else’s suffering from pity, sympathy, empathy, or creative empathy by consciously participating and helping actively – we have an opportunity to turn something that is bad (painful, wrong – be it our product or a love problem of a high school friend) into something good (or at least – better). More precisely, to eliminate or mitigate the source of the problem. The question imposes itself whether we need creative empathy if everything is good, or does it only serve us when the situation is bad?

Nempathy and Pempathy

Empathy is most often talked about in the context of “it’s bad”. I call such empathy Nempathy (empathy for negative emotions). However, when another person is well, when something great has happened to him/her, when the person is happy – empathy can help keep that feeling or even make it better! I call such empathy Pempathy (empathy for positive emotions). Throughout history, innovations have emerged as a reaction to something negative, but we have also created better things than those we already had, even when they were good (carriage-car, candle-bulb, phone-mobile phone-smartphone, store-online store). I believe that innovators and creative persons are often empathetic, and how we could react in positive conditions and make them more positive, we will try to explain in the following text.

“I got promoted! I‘ve been waiting for it so long and I’ve been hoping so much”- another human being tells you. Remember that model of PITY, SYMPATHY, EMPATHY, and PARTICIPATION from the previous text? In the case of Pempathy, the reaction could be as follows:

  1. Recognizing positive emotions – ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. A statement that would follow our reaction, in that case, could be, “Aw, I’m so glad.” A Mona Lisa smile or some slightly more distorted one would follow these words.
  2. Sharing the moment – SYMPATHY. The statement would be, “Oh my God, I am so happy for you! I can imagine how happy you are.” A wide smile, a slight bounce off the ground, a hug, maybe even a kiss would follow this reaction of sharing a positive moment.
  3. Sharing joy – COMMON JOY. That is when you were there, you felt that moment of reward and confirmation, and you have goosebumps from experiencing joy for another being has succeeded, has progressed, has healed. With tears in your eyes, squealing and screaming, and flushed cheeks, at the same time you are where you were when your similar / the same positive emotion happened, and in this place – here and now, with this another being. COMMON JOY is like an emotional time machine, thanks to which, while rejoicing with someone, you revive your own earlier joy, aware that there is so much joy at that moment to make dozens of people happy, not just the two of you. The statement that follows this state is: “I know exactly how happy you are! You don’t have to tell me anything!! All those days, all the preparations and finally the success!! Well done!!” Maybe there would be no jumping, no squeal… But the emotion is deeper, stronger. Sometimes it’s just a nod of the head, a firm handshake, pursed lips in an unspoken word: “You did it, you see?! I knew you would make it. I believed in you.” Although the other person will spend most of the time celebrating the moment with those from the previous group, because they are loud and explosive, (s)he will know that you really understand him/her. You will exchange glances with a nod of your head, and you will say so many things to each other without saying a word.
  4. PROLONGING happiness – this can only be felt by those who have been in a place of joy and more than once. It’s like a multiplied common joy! The next level. Not everyone who rejoices with you must be the one who makes an effort to prolong your happiness, but the one who prolongs your happiness is someone who sincerely rejoices and with joy lives through what is happening to you. We don’t really like them or appreciate them as we should. These are the ones who say: “Well done maestro! / Way to go, girl! Now wisely to the next level. Don’t lose your focus, don’t relax too much. Now go ahead even stronger, because you have confirmation that you can”. Not many nonverbal gestures, no theatricality. Quiet satisfaction and a vision of progress.

Of course, there are those who will not react, who will almost not react, who will react negatively, but we are not talking about that now.

How to react to people who react to you

Keep an eye on the first group, take those from the second group for a beer occasionally, take those from the third group out for dinner or even better for a walk by the river, and those from the fourth – the ones that annoy you the most, fraternize with them, consider godfathers or at least find a way to spend time with them consulting them every week. And all these recommendations do not apply to the day of success, but to the days after success if you want to succeed again.

I’ll tell you what life looks like after you succeed. Is achieving success really a goal and what after you achieve it. What few people tell you is that when you work hard and overcome numerous challenges, there is no feeling of relief. For success is a journey. When you get to the first station on this journey, you will understand how far you can go, and that the success achieved so far is only one part of an expedition. Should you get out at that station, or should you continue further? How far is it “further”? Will everyone you love and that you care for a stay on your train? Should you stop? Maybe it’s just time to change train. – 10 powers of a superwoman, Dragana Djermanovic

We are well today because of all the wise and good things we did yesterday. To be well tomorrow, we must work well today. And to be better tomorrow than we are today, today we have to work better than yesterday. No one can help you with that more than Pempaths. Those people who see a step further and want to prolong your happiness and success are a real blessing and there are few of them.

They know what it was like to get to where you are now, and more importantly how you can get to new heights. You may not know that, but they do. We usually ignore them, we push our heads into the sand like ostriches so that we don’t see them and we pretend that this success is all that matters and that you’ve got everything you need for the next success. Maybe, truly maybe, what brought you here won’t get you there. Maybe they know what will get you there. Maybe we are not aware of that, and maybe these lines can change that a little bit.

If you are the one who reacts, how to react constructively?

If you only ACKNOWLEDGE someone’s positive feeling, ask yourself why you are not rejoicing with him/her. If, on the other hand, you SYMPATHIZE with them with joy and have a need to show it loudly and vividly, ask yourself why it would not be enough to just feel that joy and not let the room ring with your joy (so much that it overshadows the celebrant himself/herself). If you share COMMON JOY, quietly and with dignity, but with deep pleasure – well done! You have come a long way on the path of personal development.

Those who want to PROLONG someone else’s happiness as soon as it happens, take a deep breath and count to 100. Then congratulate and go to a quiet place to write down everything you would say to that person about tomorrow’s struggles so that his/her happiness would last. Tell her/him tomorrow or some other day when the time is right and say it the right way. Today is a day for Happiness. Let her/him rejoice and enjoy today. It’s not important that we are right, nor that we say what we have to say. It is important that what we say triggers a positive change. That requires the right thing (word/advice), at the right time, and the right way. Otherwise, the day for happiness becomes a day for selfishness – a day in which we take away the deserved happiness from a good human being who has every reason to be drunk with the happiness of the day.

We will now talk about how to be able to react to someone else’s passion or suffering (empathy – “in passion” or “in suffering”).

We said in the previous text that elasticity, curiosity, flexibility, tolerance are very important, but how we reach out to another person and how to react adequately if we don’t know what it’s like to experience a certain suffering or certain happiness.

If there was no way, many activists would not be fiercely defending rainforests, oceans, or women’s right for abortion, because they hardly know what it’s like to lose rainforests, what are the personal and concrete effects of destroying coral reefs, and especially because they don’t know what it’s like not to be born. If there was no way to feel inexperienced, it would be difficult for inventors to invent a television that never existed in any similar form or a printing press or a flying balloon. How do you think Da Vinci managed to make a sketch of an ornithopter in the 15th century?

If we want to feel, imagine and experience something, to train ourselves to feel, imagine and create – we must play :) Training, workshops, and lectures I give on this topic are a lot of fun, and on this occasion, I share with you only four steps to Pempathy and Nempathy – creative empathy for one’s own and others’ positive and negative events.

I Self-awareness

First of all, take time to get to know yourself. Here are five practical tips on how to do it:

  1. Write a diary. Include not only lines about what happened, but also how you felt, and how others felt about the events in your life.
  2. Record video interviews with yourself, record them and analyze them
  3. Create a questionnaire and ask your friends about how they see you and how you react, here is a link that can help you with that.
  4. Make a list of people who ask you questions in life. Contact these people at least once a month and talk to them. Those are probably the ones who are trying to PROLONG your happiness or give you advice on how to get out of trouble by PARTICIPATING in your challenge (our dear creative empaths). Know exactly who they are and let them know that you know and appreciate what they are, and what you have in your life. Also, figure out how to show them you appreciate them.
  5. Make a list of questions and ask yourself every month – one and the same question on the last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday of the month. Then at the end of the year, analyze how you reacted to the same things and what different things you noticed from month to month. You will have 50 small Monday-Friday collections and 50 different answers to the same five questions. It’s even easier if you get the book Q&A a Day for Me. It already contains 365 questions for 3 or 5 years. Here is the model of the “Me This Month”. Give it a try.

II Imagination

Now let’s continue to play! In order to be able to SYMPATHIZE, PARTICIPATE, but also to innovate and create, we must imagine and fantasize. It was a favorite game for many of us, so we “dressed up” as doctors, teachers, superheroes. We set the props, took a stand, made a story… We lived many lives, many roles and many titles and all that without even stepping into school, let alone college, or even into the sea, let alone space. That didn’t stop us from being astronauts, pediatricians, or Formula 1 drivers. Let’s play again.

  1. Choose one person each month.
  2. A person can be real (politician, businessman/woman, actor/actress, activist, eg. Margaret Thatcher, Nikola Tesla, Jennifer Aniston, Martin Luther King) or imaginary (comic, film or hero(ine) from a book, painting, poem or a song, eg. Professor or Denver, Bilbo Baggins, or Titian’s Man with a Glove). You can even invent your hero/heroine, you can choose a character from the newspaper, or from an unknown picture while waiting for a friend in a cafe. My late father and I played that game at the train station buffets by imagining that we were someone from the people from the buffet, or who certain characters or groups around us were.
  3. Be that person for a few hours – think about what his/her morning, lunch, or birthday is like. Who are his/her friends and what they are like… what would you be like if you were that person and someone disappointed you or enchanted you… What you would eat, drink, read… Play. Life is a game, only we have forgotten that we are (forever) children.

III Compare

If you can’t imagine something, try comparing it to something you’ve seen/felt/experienced that is closest to what you’re trying to imagine. If someone has lost a father or mother, and thank God you haven’t, can you draw a parallel with the loss of another person you have lost (perhaps a grandmother, a friend, or a relative)? If someone lost their job and you never got fired, maybe it’s similar to failing an entry exam or losing tuition? If someone is overjoyed because they got a promotion, remember what it was like for you when you got a job or when you were accepted to the desired college, or when you got your first big assignment… Analyze, compare, and that way you will be more elastic and flexible.

IV Imitate

Play roles to experience the inexperienced. Often when I travel, especially alone, I introduce myself to strangers by a completely different name and as a completely different person. Once I was a teacher, once a soldier, and once a judoka. These were all, of course, some harmless situations with people that I will certainly never see again – on a plane, in a waiting room, in shopping, or on public transport. Again, it was enough to imagine and imitate some people and some situations for a moment, and for some time after that, consciously prolonging the imitation.

Play roles with your partners while going out or on a vacation; with friends during parties (not just masquerades); with children when they imitate. Imitating someone’s life or condition can very vividly depict a hitherto unimaginable situation.

At American colleges, students regularly go through various empathy training, including role-playing and imitation – one day on campus blindfolded (to feel what it means to be blind or visually impaired), one day in a wheelchair, or one day without words.

A striking example of this activity is the famous Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment. In 1968, the American schoolteacher, Jane Elliott, conducted an instructive lesson on racism and discrimination on her own initiative with her students – third graders, through imitation and play. Children had or lost privileges for a few days just because they had brown or blue eyes.

Understanding the nonsense of discrimination quickly became clear to the youngsters after they saw how much it hurts to be less good and less valuable (smart, talented) just because you were born with this or that color of eyes (which you didn’t choose to have, and had no influence on it). Even today, there is a controversy about the ethics of this experiment, but I understand the intention and I notice a clear and loud message – only when you find yourself in a given situation will you know what it means. If you are not in it, it does not mean that you should be ambivalent or apathetic, but you can, with exercises, games, and training, stretch your mind, your spirit, and your being to other dear people and situations so that your contribution to the world would be worthy of the opportunity to live now and here.


I think we would progress faster if we were there for each other – if we PARTICIPATED in suffering and PROLONGED passion and happiness. If we could do that, I believe we would live with less conflict – inner and that with other people. We would also be more creative, innovative, and open. The next time someone complains about the darkness of the moment, ask him if (s)he shares the light with others. The next time you rejoice with someone, think about how you could prolong their happiness. In someone’s pain, think about whether it is enough to feel PITY or you could SYMPATHYZE and PARTICIPATE and how.

Everything will become better when we become better. Whether we become better largely depends on us.

✻ How self-aware do you think you are and which of the qualities of a successful leader of new normal do you possess? Do you think it could be better? You can book a lecture, workshop, or combination on the topic of this text for yourself, your company, or an event you are organizing via the following link. The text is an excerpt from the group of my products “Mind your mind”. How to see yourself and others more clearly, conclude more accurately and make better decisions – all this can be learned. Over a thousand people and hundreds of companies I have worked with so far, confirm that there is a way. Of course, only if you think you should. Think about it.


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