“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” –Albert Einstein
There are three factors I kept noticing over and over in smart people.
Once I saw it, I couldn’t not see it.
(I’m not sure if these are the elements that make someone smart or if most people I associated intelligence with these qualities.)
The smartest people I know are:
- Great listeners.
- Open to new information.
In this post, we’re going to discuss:
- The practicality of compassion
- How kindness flows through society
- A real-world case study of these principles in practice
- Actionable ways to get “smarter”
How Compassion Helps You
If you can understand someone’s problem, you can potentially solve it.
If you can solve it, the person you’re talking to will trust you more. If they trust you more, they’re more likely to spend money with you.
The purpose of understanding someone’s problem is to understand it. Then, if you are ever in that situation, you will be able to better handle it… because you’ve already seen it!
This is how I used to look at compassion. Although they are true and practical, it is asking how you will benefit from the situation.
The real benefit of compassion is compassion itself. The next time you do something nice for someone, sit with your emotions for a second.
How do you feel? If you’re mind and body reacts anything like mine, I’d guess you have warmth inside of you. This is a natural reaction to spreading kindness to others.
Here is the where the real practicality of compassion comes in: you reward yourself.
(The reason it feels good to help others is that it feels good to help yourself. And we are all far more connected than we realize.)
How Kindness Flows Through Society
One random act of kindness can flow throughout society and create a brighter world for all.
Alex pays for the next person in line at Chipotle. Bobby sees Alex doing that and orders food for his 10-person office. Christine works for Bobby and tells her Derek, her father, that her boss bought lunch. Derek buys lunch the next day for his 100-person office.
Of course, this isn’t about a free lunch. This is about what the free lunch leads to. It leads to other people acting kinder to strangers. It leads to more compassion. It leads to more light.
Alex bought a free lunch for the next person in line. He thought that was all he was doing. But that’s never all we’re doing. Derek has no idea Alex exists. But Alex changed Derek’s life.
Like a virus, we often have no idea where kindness actually starts and where it ends up. The chain can start as an idea in your head and change the world.
Why Joe Rogan Is the Smartest Person I Know
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” – Bill Nye
Joe Rogan’s podcasts resonate with so many people is because he is a great listener, open to new information, and compassionate.
This allows him to (1) understand new ideas, (2) question whether those ideas are any better than his current ideas, (3) make connections with previous ideas. Because he has talked to so many people from such a wide range of expertise, he has explored a lot of ideas.
Additionally, his ego is not attached to any position. He is questioning his own thinking. (For example, he’s changed his mind on whether he believes aliens are real.) He is not afraid to contradict himself or come to a new conclusion. He is compassionate to the people he speaks with and isn’t trying to play any sort of role for the audience.
On the other side of the coin, let’s imagine a Harvard-educated rocket scientist.
Mr. Harvard Rocket Science got a perfect score on the SAT. He’s read every single textbook on every subject. He is a genius!
But when you talk to him about anything, he doesn’t listen to you. He doesn’t try to understand what you’re saying. He operates on the premise he has learned everything to learn so he can’t learn anything from you.
Would an outside observer think of Mr. Harvard Rocket Scientist as all that smart?
Actionable Ways to Become More Compassionate
So what should you do to actually become that person? To become someone who is open-minded, compassionate, and kind? Here’s what I’ve found helps me:
Strive To Become the Highest Version of Yourself
When you fill your bucket fully, you want to give to others.
The periods in my life when I was consistently acting in alignment with the highest version of myself, these were the times I was most compassionate and understanding of others.
To be selfless, first be selfish.
One way to be selfish is to start your day with a Morning Routine. When I do this, I’m priming myself to be a source of light and positive energy for all those around me. If I can first give myself energy, light, and excitement, I can then expand the world with these qualities as well.
Talk to More People
Talking to others allows you to explore different worldviews and perspectives. This naturally makes you more compassionate to anyone else you meet.
The reason Joe Rogan is open to so many perspectives is that he has seen so many perspectives. But you don’t need to be Joe Rogan to see the world in a new way. Be open to new people and experiences.
Mediation is the practice of observing your mind. If you observe your mind for any period of time, you might begin to notice how fickle your mind can be (at least mine)! How it links certain things together and draws a conclusion.
If you are able to see how your own thinking is flawed, you might begin to laugh. Then, give yourself a break. If you can give yourself a break, you can give others one as well.
Yoga is meditation for your body.
Yoga leads to compassion for many reasons.
One is because you’re probably not as flexible as you would like to be. The different positions can be uncomfortable, especially if you’ve never tried them before.
Many people who do yoga are also kind and compassionate. For whatever reason, the practice lends itself to these types of people. The more time you spend with those types of people, the more likely you are to become one of them yourself.
I’ve noticed a considerable difference between doing yoga in a studio and yoga online. In a studio, you are fully involved in the present moment. You can feel the energy of the room. When doing yoga at home, you might get interrupted by a phone call or a loud noise in your house.
That too, provides a good time for compassion.
When I tried reading The Power of Now in college, I couldn’t get through the first chapter.
“What is all this woo-woo nonsense?”
When I picked it up a few years later, I couldn’t believe how profound and true many of the statements were.
The more I felt connected with all human beings, the more compassionate I became. And to get to that place, it helped to read a few books on the subject.
Reading allows you to learn from people who have thought about specific issues for extended periods of time. It’s almost like talking to new people.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. ” -Buddha
Forgiveness is the process of removing the anger you feel for someone. Although it can be difficult, it is always worth it. That doesn’t mean you have to speak to the person who wronged you.
Lay down at night. Forgive everyone who did you wrong during that day (or days past). Whether it was a dirty look or someone who didn’t say hi back to you. Or even yourself.
This practice will bring more compassion to your life. Because when you forgive, you are letting go. And releasing this energy will allow you to be more compassionate to everyone around you.
- Compassion is practical. You are helping yourself with your own kindness.
- Your deeds don’t affect you; they have the potential to affect the world.
- Joe Rogan is the smartest individual on Earth. Bow down.
- If you’re looking to improve your compassion muscle, do the following: become the highest version of yourself, talk to more people, meditate, explore awareness, do yoga, read about spirituality, forgive.