Mort Mather Author Writer Organic Farmer Philosopher Thinker Restauranteur

How to improve your life and save the world.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Thinking empathetically

My half acre of organic vegetables for the restaurant is keeping me away from the keyboard but it is also a great place to think. Perhaps I am credited with a “green thumb” because I think emphatically about plants in my garden.

If I were a plant, would I like to have heavy feet tramping on the soil right over my roots? Observing weeds I have come to the conclusion that Mother Nature does not like to see bare ground. She has developed weeds that have no problem being walked upon. Weeds reach bare ground through the air as seeds are blow about, on the ground as grasses like crab grass and ivies creep in and even underground as witch grass invades. With this observation I am able to counter with some seeds of my own like buckwheat that will cover the ground and shade out other weeds. I also take the hint and try to keep the ground covered with my own planting or a mulch like grass clippings or straw.

Empathetic thinking is really useful in just about all of life’s pursuits. When I was trying to raise millions of dollars to save Laudholm Farm I found it invaluable to try to understand as well as possible the minds of the people I was asking for money. When writing a grant proposal my final activity was to put it in the envelope and then go to another place in my office. I would sit down and think about the person who was going to receive my proposal and then I would open the envelope and pretend to be them.

Just imagine how easy life would be if we could read other people’s minds. Attempting to do that is really what empathetic thinking is. The more we practice it the better we get and the better we get the easier life becomes.