Empathy and Sympathy

Empathy & Sympathy by Mukesh Gupta

One of the most difficult things for me when it comes to building strong bonds with people I constantly interact with, is the ability to empathise. I always was capable of intellectually understanding what the other person was going through but always found it extremely difficult to feel what they were feeling. I never quite understood why that was the case. I know a lot of people who are similar to me in this regard, so when I came across a resource that can significantly impact this aspect of our personality, I decided to share this and do it in a slightly more permanent way, on my blog, rather than on a social media platform.

After watching this video from Brene Brown, I think I now know why I always found it difficult. Before we continue, please spare the 4 minutes that the video takes and watch the video here:

As Brene Brown puts it, in order to truly feel empathy, we need to look into ourselves and do to that dark place where our friend is to be able to feel empathy towards her. This is scary and painful. It is meant to be scary and painful. That is what our friend is feeling and if we want to feel the same way, it is quite natural that we need to access the emotions that make us feel scared and pained.

This simple yet profound insight is critical to understand, feel and master, if we are to truly become good at creating new products or services based on insights from observations.

Even if we don’t empathise with people, we can at least learn not to hurt them more by trying to silver-lining their emotional issues.


Empathy is critical in both influencing someone and in getting influenced by someone. This insight also helped me understand that

We truly develop influence over others only when we allow them to influence us, in a way Click To Tweet

So, if we are in the business of influencing people (either selling them something or seeking insights for innovation), learning to empathise is a crucial skill.

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2 Replies to “Empathy and Sympathy”

  1. Hi Mukesh,

    Nice post ! Thanks for sharing.

    I saw the TED talk by Brene Brown (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psN1DORYYV0) and one statement from that talk that come to mind which directly correlates with Product Management is – “Vulnerability is the birthplace of Innovation, Creativity and Change.”


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