In my experience working with emotional intelligence, the two areas people want to improve the most are self-awareness and empathy. The latter, I’ve learned, is one of the most oversimplified yet complex skills to learn. And the more I contemplate, discuss. and read about it, the more I’m convinced that it boils down to one thing: listening. I don’t mean the act of listening in the moment. Instead, I’m convinced that true empathy emerges over time when we demonstrate genuine interest in others: who they are, what brought them here, what their dreams and ambitions are, why they’ve struggled, how they’re changing, and more. Doing all of this, of course, requires sustained listening, proving to others that it’s genuine and coming from a place of interest and love. Listening leads to learning, and learning leads to empathy. This doesn’t mean we agree with others. It simply means that we’re able to understand, feel, and sense who they are and where they’re coming from. It applies to our spouses, partners, children, co-founders, team members, neighbors, and friends. It applies to other genders, races, employers, generations, political parties, nations, and socioeconomic classes. We grapple today with why loneliness continues to grow and why we’re becoming a more divisive world. To me, the answer is simple.