A recent story that I shared with readers reads as follows:
This is the story of a poor woman begging outside the villa of a rich man. Each day she asked the man for help and he always replied, “I was poor and I experienced what you suffer. May God help you”? One day she addressed the may by saying “wouldn’t you add some honey to your good wishes?”
The man practiced empathy and the woman asked for empathy and donation –that is action.
Empathy = Sympathy + experiencing what we sympathize for
Generosity = Empathy + Action
Sympathy is feeling the pain of someone.
Empathy is feeling and experiencing the pain of someone as the rich man in the story showed.
However, the man took no action to reduce the suffering of the woman. He did not add honey to his feelings and experience. He failed to show generosity. That did not lessen the pain of the needy poor woman.
A comment on the post by Farooq Omar, which helps greatly in understanding the situation of the story, reads as follows:
I think and sure only compassion all alone is not sufficient. It stays fragmented if there is no expectation of giving it a shape to initiate. Once more, I might want to pressure sympathy must be normally ‘comprehensive’ in nature to get to the liberality state as appropriateness. Moreover, I see ‘quietude’ as a pre-imperative to be compassionate. Without this quality, sympathetic conduct cannot be normal as lowliness Raters need to see that individual is resolved to address his predispositions. Passivity resembles “Hello, I realize I have this bias, however whatever, I am what I Am.” interestingly, genuine compassionate who are modest recognize their weakness to their own inclination that prompts the following stage as ‘liberality, etc.
Else, it is a dry unproductive exercise. Simply being heard is not sufficient.
It always occurred to me that Fractal Gridding, invented by @Rod King, is a great way to turn the situational analysis of the story background into a storytelling format. I challenged Dr. Rod King if he could produce the fractal grid of the story.
The response of Dr. King provides a unique and creative way of storytelling that makes this effort easy and joyful as well.
Here is what Dr. Rod King suggested:
Ali Anani, Ph.D.: On the surface, the story that you present above might appear simple, yet when one digs, the story is complex to untangle. I believe that is one reason why your stories and articles draw a rich diversity of comments. They are “simplex.” In addition, I positively mean it.
For your above story, “Why Empathy is not enough?” I read it through a habit lens. From the beggar’s perspective, the rich man has a bad habit of “lack of generosity.” Consequently, the beggar wants to influence and change the rich man’s habit to one of generosity.
Based on my focus on habit change, I have adapted the “Sense-Respond (OTHER) Loop” to “OTHER Habit Loop” while illustrating your mini-story. The Fractal Grid below presents some interesting insights:
- The rich man first senses a cue from the beggar while empathizing & sympathizing. However, the rich man does not favorably respond.
- The beggar is disappointed by the behavior of the rich man.
- To change the rich man’s behavior, the beggar should improve the rich man’s S*M*A*R*T Habit System; the acronym is as follows:
S = Supply (Money)
M = Motivation
A = Activity (Action)
R = Resources
T = Trigger (Cue)
Unsurprisingly, the beggar has chosen to focus on “M,” i.e. Motivation.
Dr. Rod King is right. The rich man has the ability to supply the poor lady with little money. It is his desirability that is questioned and the lady tried to boost this desirability.
If we inspect the fractal grid of Dr. King we find it is a great way of storytelling. It is more than a guide. It has all the requirements to write a story, a movie, or TV script while “in the flow”. We first sense the situation and find out what triggers the hero and the antagonist and how to employ these triggers purposefully to build up the tension of the story.
We start from Observe and Think of the story structure to move on to hypothesizing different scenarios for writing a compelling story. The hero tries and sometimes fails so she/he must try again and never yield to failure. Finally, the hero finds a way to resolve the conflict.
I believe the structure of storytelling will improve drastically by following the structure of the grid.