Postdate: 23 January 2018
Social behaviour, the ability to understand others, and to be empathetic are skills we need in order to make contact with each other. However, the need for togetherness is not always visible in our developed society, while it is important to make others (and with this directly yourself) happy with small things. This is also called 'random acts of kindness'.
Attention for the other
Stress and busyness may make you unaware of what something kind can actually do. Making others happy is a confirmation of establishing togetherness; it is a way to make connections, which are interactional. The capability to make others happy is a combination of observing and training skills. More knowledge and insight about this came with the discovery of mirror neurons. Through the activity of mirror neurons we are able to understand someone, to understand what someone observes, and be empathetic. When we make someone happy an interaction is taking place; mirror neurons pick up the signal of the other’s happiness and send it back to you, which make you happy again. When you give a compliment the receiver will possibly laugh or have a friendly facial expression, which has a direct effect on your mirror neurons; they are in a state of ‘yearning’ receptivity, waiting to get satisfied. When this happens it gives a good feeling of, for example, joy or happiness.
‘Random acts of kindness cost nothing, but bring the best reward’
There are several skills you can learn in order to understand better, motivate or inspire. Here, mirroring, mirror neurons in the prefrontal cortex keep coming back. There seems however another connection, namely, between observation and mobility skills. You will look different when you learned a new skill, according to neurologist Christian Keysers, author of the book The Emphatic Brain. When you coach a football player there is more mirror activity, and therefore it causes more empathy capabilities when you also play football yourself. This does not have to be on the same level, but the experience of the movement contributes a lot. Intuitively, this is really logical: you feel better understood by a trainer who not only observed but also experienced the same.
This also counts on the work floor. If you want to motivate a colleague, or make him or her happy, you do better when you experience what he or she experience. Start with the basics (regardless of your education), and do tasks accordingly. Appreciate and learn!