Compassion builds on empathy, which in turn requires a focus on others. If self-absorbed, we simply do not notice other people; we can walk by utterly indifferent to their predicament. But once we notice them we can tune in, sense their feelings and needs, and act on our concern.

Moral sentiments drive from empathy, and moral reflections take thinking and focus. One cost of the frenetic stream of distractions we face today, some fear, is an erosion of empathy and compassion. The more distracted we are, the less we can exhibit attunement and caring.

– Daniel Goleman, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence


image credit: Franco Folini

On Compassion and Distraction