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Recruitment, Pre-employment Selection and Compassion

How many employees are scared at work? Is it fear of interacting with your boss, the new guy who may replace you, or dreading being laid off as a wonderfully nice but economically redundant employee? There are plenty of daily workplace interpersonal interactions that contribute to stress, the largest area of workers compensation claims, but an area that is not …


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Elevation Mapping: Pro-Social Compassion Maps

Written by Daniel Martin, Ph.D. A few years back, I was having a conversation with a brilliant Stanford student about crime maps. He suggested that a really cool use of mapping technology would be to map compassion. I thought to myself, that is a crazy idea, how would we do that? I shrugged it off and tried not to think …


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Amplifiers and Inhibitors of Compassion in Organizations

Written by Monica Worline, Ph.D. CompassionLab’s Monica Worline, Ph.D., presented a summary of CompassionLab to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a dialogue devoted to the topic of compassion and ethics in business, co-hosted by Santa Clara University and Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education on Feb. 24, 2014. In his remarks, His Holiness commented that it is part of the human project …


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Receiving and Giving: Perspectives on Philanthropy

I recently watched Dan Palotta’s TEDTalk and later spoke with him on a conference call related to a new compassion initiative of which I am a part. His talk reminded me of a number of my own experiences and the unique perspective as an entrepreneur who made (and lost) millions, who has given away close to thirty million dollars to charity and …


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Asian Students, Plagiarism Stereotypes and Compassion

A few years ago, I had an interesting interaction with a colleague. She described the lay of the academic terrain in the following manner: “Asian students are more likely to plagiarize than White students.” When asked why, my colleague explained that this was a basic truism of academia, based on her many years of experience. This was an issue that …


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On Grudges and Forgiveness

Written By Jayanth Narayanan, PhD One of the most difficult things to do when we feel wronged upon is to forgive those who have inflicted harm on us. Great leaders are able to channel such anger to bring about social change. In fact the very reason why some leaders are thought of to be great is because of their capacity …


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Callousness Comes With a Cost

The Dalai Lama once said that “compassion is a necessity, not a luxury … without it, humanity cannot survive.” Compassion is the emotion that we feel in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help. Philosophers, humanists, and theologians have long argued that this emotion plays a foundational role in human morality (though some, like Immanuel …


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Compassion and Business?

By Scott Kriens When first asked to speak at the upcoming Compassion and Business conference, I was struck by how seldom we hear those two words in the same sentence. Why? I think it’s because we think of compassion too abstractly, and we’re probably equally guilty in thinking of “business” too clinically. Even if we can’t count it, we all know …


The Science of Compassion

Science and technology have the potential to profoundly impact the human landscape, taking us either to the deepest, darkest valleys of human suffering or to the highest peaks of human potential. What will stop us from choosing the former is the cultivation of compassion.


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Even in Business, a Little Forgiveness Can Go a Long Way

It’s difficult to avoid conflict at work. Sure, we can try to prevent conflict in the first place, but with so many different personalities, working styles, and stress-inducing responsibilities, the employee that never experiences conflict is more likely to be the exception than the rule. When conflict sneaks its way into our relationships at work, what can we do to …


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Hierarchy, CSR, Compassion and Health

Every day we wake up and start making judgments. How does your preference for hierarchy impact those judgments? For example, public opinion polls find most people support equality but see income distribution as being unfair in society. At the same time they see our economic system to be highly fair and legitimate. Stereotypes seem to help justify inequality in social …


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Taking Time

Time is money in the West. Workers are paid by the hour, lawyers charge by the minute, and advertising is sold by the second ($117,000 per second at this year’s Super Bowl). Think about this: The civilized mind has reduced time, the most obscure and amorphous of all intangibles, to the most objective of all quantities — money. With time …


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Compassion Behind Bars

A few weeks ago, an unprecedented letter arrived at our office at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. Here is an excerpt: The purpose of the inmate’s letter was to request reading materials pertaining to research on meditation and the brain. His goal upon his release is to get a Ph.D. in psychology or …


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Brooklynites, Bike Accidents and the Science of Compassion

About 11 years ago I was hit by a car while bicycling through Brooklyn, N.Y. When I returned to consciousness I was lying in an intersection, blood streaming from a damaged hand, head, and knee. A small group of people had materialized out of the seemingly-empty street. They must have been walking past or eating in the nearby diner. Whatever …


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Feeling under the Weather? Go Hang Out with Friends

During my first quarter at Stanford, I got sick a lot. This was very unusual for me and was a little mysterious, since I was practicing all my healthy behaviors — eating well, sleeping well, and exercising daily. I blamed my frequent illness on living with so many people in a dorm (I figured there were more germs when you’re …


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Compassion: Shifting The Balance From Bad to Good Stress

We generally think of stress as a big, bad, disease-causing, killer. Yet mother nature didn’t give us the stress response to kill us. She gave us the stress response to help us stay alive! For example, without this fight-or-flight response, a lion has no chance of catching its meal, and a gazelle has no chance of escape. All animals, including …


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10 (Science-Based) Reasons Why Compassion Is Hot

Science suggests that compassion may well be the most important thing in your life. 1. It makes us happy (as happy as getting money)! A brain-imaging study headed by neuroscientist Jordan Grafman from the National Institute of Health showed that the “pleasures centers” in the brain, i.e. the parts of our brains that are active when we experience pleasure (like …


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The Science of Choosing Compassion

As I walk down bustling Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I often pass homeless people who ask me for spare change. Sometimes I let myself feel compassion for these individuals. But other times I don’t want to get emotionally involved, so I look away and keep walking. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. Pondering such experiences has led …


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Putting Compassion to Work: Google, Gratitude and Getting Canned

In 2009, I taught the Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training Program at Google. My group of Googlers included engineers as well as people from various other technical and non-technical positions. Diverse in temperament and ethnicity, these folks shared a typical Googler profile: They were young, tired, overworked, stressed about deadlines, and smart. My task was to teach them how to become …


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Applying Compassion in Organizations

Economic turbulence seems normative in modern America. Our current workplace finds itself struggling on organizational, team and individual levels. The impact of financial insecurity, joblessness, short-term positions, downsizing and changing standards in technology and job skills can have significant financial, psychological, and social costs for organizations and their employees. Recent scholarship has established the positive effects of compassion at work, …