1 > 0

Mind-blowing, I know.

But please stick with me here.

We all know that one is greater than zero.

But then WHY do we make JUDGMENTS and DECISIONS that are CONTRARY to this undisputed FACT?

When I listened to an interview with Scott Plous, a professor who holds a Ph.D. in psychology and studies judgement, decision making, compassion and empathy 1 > 0 was given a whole new meaning.

1 > 0 also means – helping 1 person is worth it. Even if you can’t help them all.  

He used this concept of 1 > 0 to explain how and why we should help others and how it can change all of our lives for the better.

I’ll break it down.

Sometimes we don’t help others because of these common thought processes:

  • If I gave everyone in need $20 I wouldn’t have any money and I’d be homeless too.
  • If I spend extra time helping this student or co-worker, there aren’t enough hours to replicate this so I shouldn’t do it.

Basically, it’s easy to say to yourself, “I can’t make a difference so why bother?”

But that just IS NOT TRUE.

Everyone CAN make a difference.

1 > 0.

And what are Scott’s tips for helping you make a difference, even for one person?

One of his students talked about how practicing empathy by putting herself in someone else’s shoes profoundly changes the relationship you have with them.

I know this sounds cliché, but it’s something we all need to be reminded of, including (and especially) me.

We need to be reminded to take a different perspective, in our communities, in our relationships and at the office.

What has happened in someone else’s life to lead to a reaction or behavior that’s different than anticipated or socially acceptable?

What can you do to help?

What do customers really want?

What would you want someone to say or do if you were on the other side of the table?

Actually putting yourself in someone else’s shoes isn’t always easy.

It’s difficult for me to bite my tongue and leave a comment unsaid.

And it can be hard for me to put emotions aside and recognize that someone else is acting out of love even though it’s not how I would have responded or acted.

But again, even if we don’t do this perfectly (I haven’t met anyone who does).

And even if it only helps sometimes….

1 > 0

Even a small donation.

Even a simple word of encouragement.

Even one bite of the tongue…

Makes a difference.

1 > 0

Let’s make a difference. One action at a time.

And the KICKER…

Helping others and practicing empathy leads to others reciprocating. It creates a ripple effect of meaning and positivity….

…and comes right back – making you feel more fulfilled and happier.

I think Prof. Scott has unlocked the science behind Karma.


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