Where transaction is, let empathy be

What would be the impact if we replaced most of the transactional based conversations in the following chapters of life with empathic based conversations?

Source: Get Out of Your Own Way by Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg

A good place to start is to follow the wisdom of psychoanalyst, Wilfred Bion, by listening without memory or desire.

By that Bion meant that when we listen with memory, we have a past personal agenda we’re trying to plug the other person into and when we listen with desire, we have a present or future personal agenda we’re trying to plug them into. In neither case are we listening to or for where the other person is coming from.

And what would be a good tactic to begin taking action on?

Follow the suggestion of the Founder of Common Cause, John Gardner, and consciously intend to “be more interested than interesting” in your conversations and of Stephen Covey, “To seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Let us know how it turns out for you.


  • Mark Goulston, M.D.

    Author, speaker, podcast host, psychiatrist

    Dr. Mark Goulston is the inventor and developer of Surgical Empathy an approach that helps people to break their attachments to counterproductive modes of functioning and frees them to connect with more productive and healthier alternatives. He is the host of the “My Wakeup Call” podcast where he interviews people on the wakeup calls that changed who they are and made them better human beings and at being human and the host of the LinkedIn Live show, "No Strings Attached." He is a Founding Member of the Newsweek Expert Forum. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on deep listening, radical empathy and real influence with his book, “Just Listen,” becoming the top book on listening in the world, translated into twenty languages and a topic he speaks and teaches globally. He is an advisor, coach, mentor and confidante to CEO’s, founders and entrepreneurs helping them to unlock all their internal blocks to achieving success, fulfillment and happiness. Originally a UCLA professor of psychiatry and crisis psychiatrist for over 25 years, and former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, Dr. Goulston's expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations including being a boots on the ground suicide prevention specialist and serving as an advisor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial. Including, “Just Listen,” he is the author or co-author of nine books with multiple best sellers. He writes or contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Biz Journals, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Psychology Today and has appeared as an psychological expert in the media including: CNN, Headline News, msNBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Psychology Today and was the subject of a PBS special. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.