I have become so wildly obsessed with staying on top of technology, trends and the critical skills for my career and profession that I somehow have forgotten about the most important skills of all. Human skills. Hell, LinkedIn should consider endorsements for human skills. Imagine. What does Jane know about kindness? Consideration? Compassion?
Building Trust is a Skill
In the middle of reading Kevin Kelly’s book The Inevitable something really important resonated. While technological advances in artificial intelligence and robotics will replace many jobs, careers and professions, trust is something very difficult to replace. Trust between you and me. No amount of AI instances can reproduce this in bulk. No you simply can’t cut and paste someone’s faith and assurance.
Human skills. It takes practice and talent to be human. I even wonder if we are born with the essential skills of empathy and kindness or if some of us are just smart enough to learn them.
The Human Skills Workout Routine
Regardless of how we become aware of our human skills, it wouldn’t hurt to practice, to train each day. Much like hitting the gym or a spin session at Soul Cycle we can develop a human workout routine. Unless you are a hermit bunkered down somewhere waiting for the apocalypse to announce itself, than you are given opportunities throughout the day to practice these skills. Some obstacle courses are harder, some weights are heavier. The cranky husband, the entitled child, the angry mom. The nasty passenger on the train. Yes, they are all there for us to develop our human skills and strength.
Oh and how we are blessed with the circuitry currents and tools to practice these human skills.
- hands to hold on tight
- hearts to give patiently, freely and compassionately
- ears to listen intently
- lips to speak softly and gently
- a mouth to smile wide at the world
- eyes to see behind the masks and hardened armor
Empathy is the current that connects us all. To tap into the sympathetic nervous system that is wired to feel each other’s pain. To feel it effortlessly.
Empathy is the engine that powers all the best in all of us. It is what civilizes and connects us all. For more of this wisdom, listen to Meryl Streep’s 10 Life Lessons here.
Who knows, maybe these skills will even outweigh, out run and succeed any technological disruptions in our lives. The more human you can be, the more sympathetic and compassionate, a human of good character, then the more relevant and necessary you will become.
Somewhere along the line, in this thing called life, I believe I have suppressed my true human skills in order to be accepted, liked and maybe even appreciated. Sometimes protecting my heart, so I won’t get hurt. How mixed up can it be. I’ve held back so much in order to attempt to keep the chaos in order. To control things beyond my grasp. Trying to keep the waters calm. This has not served me well.
It is time to wrangle up the pieces of me for a reassembling. All the humanness that is me. The time is now, to begin again. To retrain my human soul.
Perhaps to even soar.
About the artist.
Born in 1975 in Seoul, Korea, Choi Xooang works in sculpture and installation.
To Choi, the body is a vessel through which we perceive and express ourselves, and one that provides him with an ideal medium to explore the possibilities of the human condition. What might seem brutal at first glance is actually Choi’s method of dealing with life’s wounds and scars, and even in his most grotesque work, his figures seem to evoke our awe and sympathy.