Today we’re excited to have another great guest on the show, Dr. Chris Kukk. Chris is a former counter-intelligence agent, the founding director for the Center of Compassion, Creativity, and Innovation, a professor of political science at Western Connecticut State University. And author of the upcoming book, The Compassionate Achiever. Chris, welcome to the Science of Success.
Chris: Thank you for having me, I love the podcast.
Matt: We’re so excited to have you on here. So, to start out, obviously you have a very deep and kind of fascinating background. Tell me, how did your interest at the intersection at neuroscience and social science emerge initially?
Chris: As a political scientist, I wanted to understand why people would want to cooperate, or why would they fall into conflict with one another, or why do they just ignore each other? And I think if you exclude neuroscience, what’s happening in people’s brains, what’s happening in their perceptions. How they perceive reality. You’re never going to get to an answer if everything stays superficial. So, I wanted to blend both the neuroscience - what happens inside - to what happens inside. You know, in science, it’s not nature or nurture - it’s nature and nurture. I think we need to understand that more deeply when it comes to the social sciences. When it comes to the social sciences neuroscience hasn’t been there, and so I decided to jump in.
Matt: I think that’s so important, and actually one of the people that we’ve talked about on the podcast, I’m a huge fan of is Charlie Munger. And he kind of explores the same thing which is basically the notion that psychology fundamentally underpins any phenomenon or any endeavor that involves human beings. Whether it’s business, psychology, economics, whatever it might be, and any understanding that doesn’t incorporate psychology is a fundamentally flawed understanding. Fundamentally imperfect or incomplete picture of whatever that field might be.
Chris: And I think that’s the case and I think with psychology, there’s this cool dialogue going on between psychology and neuroscience, and now the social sciences. You know, you have fields now called neuroeducation. And you have Paul Zack, who calls himself a neuroeconomist. And so, I think it’s a combination of different disciplines and I think if we take those disciplines and treat them like a combination lock, and combine them together in different ways, I think we’ll come out with not only new ways to move forward in resolving issues, and overcoming problems, but to also give us new ways to go back to research, to get a better understanding what’s happening inside the human brain.
Matt: So, one of the kind of core defining characteristics of everything you do is the notion of compassion. And that’s something we haven’t really talked about on the podcast. Tell me a little bit about how you were drawn into the study of compassion, and how do you even define compassion.
Chris: Let me start with the definition of compassion. Since I found the debate team on campus, you always have to define your terms.
Matt: I was a debater in high school, for the record, so…
Chris: So then you know! You know! You have to have topicality, we call it.
Chris: So, I define compassion as a 360 degree understanding of a problem or suffering of another. So it’s two parts here. That’s the first part: 360 degree understanding of the suffering or problem of another. Then, number two, is you take action to alleviate that suffering and address the problem. So that’s how I define compassion. From my counter-intelligence days all the way through my work on international water issues, to my work here on various educational settings, it’s about working through problems that I think for the most part have divided people. And where I’ve seen compassion come into it - it acts as a glue to unite people to move forward. And I even saw this in my military unit. The units that always try to find a way through a solution without leaving anybody behind were the most successful units. We still have that model, right? Leave no one behind. And we’re willing to sacrifice anything. We’re willing to do anything to get our fellow trooper back.
So, this is not something that’s a surprise, it’s just something that’s been sitting in front of us, and you’ve had it in a previous podcast before. It’s one of those invisible gorillas, right? And we sometimes just don’t look at it. It goes by us. So, all I did was slow down, and my kids help me slow down a little bit and ask me all those types of questions. And it’s one of the advantages of being a dad. You get to slow down and answer a lot of questions. And that was one of the questions I had in my mind. Then I was always told “Oh you’re too nice!” And by that saying - you’re always going to not succeed. You’re going to have problem getting ahead because people are going to take advantage of you. That hasn’t been the case. People come together and we resolve problems and overcome things. Building an honors program at Western Connecticut State University and a very successful CEO just donated one million dollars. So I didn’t see it that way, but other people did. They would give me that line that people like to say all the time about Charles Darwin. “It’s survival of the fittest.” And Charles Darwin did not say that. He hypothesized that in the Origin of the Species, but most of his work - a good chunk of his work, over 90% of his work, including The Descent of Man, shows that is quite the opposite. It’s really survival of the kindness. Especially in chapters 2, 4, and 5 of Descent of Man, he literally says, Matt, that “the species that has the highest number of his members” - and this is words, “that are sympathetic”, meaning altruistic, generous, or compassionate, “will move up the evolutionary ladder more efficiently and effectively than other species.” And when you take that idea and you overlay it on problems of water, and you overlay it on problems that have political and economic ramifications, you change your perspective. Survival of the fittest - it’s just survival of the kindness. You find new answers, and new doors that you can jump through. To not only help you succeed, but the people around you succeed.
Matt: That actually reminds me of the book called The Moral Animal. I don’t know if you’ve ever read it but it’s by a guy named Robert Right. But it basically talks about a similar idea which is essentially that evolution sort of preprograms us to be geared towards compassion because it actually has a positive survival benefit.
Chris: It’s science. It’s inside us, too. When we think in a compassionate way, we actually activate release - outside hormone called oxytocin. Now, oxytocin activates two neurotransmitters, called dopamine and serotonin. And dopamine is that reward type of feeling we get. For me, it would be when I drink chocolate milk. I love chocolate milk, I get a high off of it. Or when I see my wife. I release a lot of dopamine. Serotonin is the calming level. If you think about a successful environment or successful person. Are they optimistic, happy, and calm? Or are they mad, angry, frustrated? Which one is going to create more success? This is not rocket science. OK, so it may be neuroscience, but - it’s in us. And we can choose to activate that path by the choices we make. We can choose to be compassionate. Or we can choose to be apathetic, or callous. That’s up to us! Then we create that environment. We can talk a little bit more about that science, especially when it comes to education. There’s a lot of great research out about what happens in compassionate positive environment in learning environments like school classrooms. What they do to a gene called DRD-4, it’s pretty awesome. I think you combine all the science together then you can see what’s happening in the real world. You combine it together you get these really amazing new insights into what we should be doing to achieve more success.
Matt: So tell me a little bit more about the hormonal - chemical reactions that take place when we feel compassion. Talking about oxytocin and dopamine and all of that stuff.
Chris: A lot of the work started with Antonio Damasio, one of my favorite books called Decartes Error and when we can go back a little bit further and review that in a moment if you’d like, but then I think really about five years ago, Dr. Tonya Singer from Germany did a number of studies using MRI scanners to show what happens when people thinking an empathetic way, compared to a compassionate way. And when we think in an empathetic way, when you have empathy on your mind. She found that the brain areas that light up are the same areas as pain. So your brain doesn’t know the difference right? It’s lighting up the pain areas when you thinking an empathetic way. But when you think in a compassionate way, you light up different areas. It’s the same areas as love. The reasons why this is so important for reality, for practical purposes, is that we’ve been talking about burn out in important fields, like first responders. Nurses. Teachers. Firemen. Policemen. You name it - those professions that help other people constantly. You have these higher rates of burnout. Since the 1980s, it started in the nursing area, we called it compassion burnout. But Dr. Tonya Singer’s work is really a misnomer. If anything, it’s called empathy burnout. Because in empathy you’re feeling the same emotion as someone else. You’re stepping into what I call the emotional quicksand of another person. And you can get stuck in that. You can get overwhelmed by that emotion. But compassion, I think, helps you ride the wave of emotions. You have this 360 degree understanding. This kind of multi-disciplinary look at a problem, so you can stay out of the quicksand, or you have branches to grab to get you out of the quicksand. So, the science is showing some really cool insights, especially Tonya Singer. I think we need to start applying it to the real world to help those people who are helping other people.
Matt: So, I think a lot of listeners might basically think of compassion and empathy and synonyms. How would you distinguish between the two of them? Obviously, we’ve defined compassion. On a chemical level it sounds like you’ve talked about this, but tell me a little bit more about the distinction of compassion and empathy.
Chris: So. Empathy is basically, in simple terms, feeling the same emotion as someone else. So if they’re sad, they’re depressed, you’re going to be sad, you’re going to be depressed. You absorb that feeling. And compassion is this kind of understanding, it’s this acquiring of knowledge or learning of why a person is down, why they’re going through specific incidences. You can have compassion without empathy. I think empathy can help at sometimes, but empathy is not necessary for compassion. Compassion is one step - it’s this emotional absorption. You’re feeling this same emotion. Compassion you’re feeling kindness towards someone else. Not sympathy. Sympathy is something completely different. In compassion you want to try to help. You want to try to assist. We all know where good intentions could leave, right? They could leave to more problems. So, you have to want this understanding - this learning. And you want to ask these questions about why someone’s down. You’re going to address them in a way with respect that tries to move them forward so that they don’t get stuck, and you don’t get stick. And empathy that one step absorption - compassion is two step. Understanding and then you take action to resolve the problem.
Matt: So compassion is much more action-oriented than empathy.
Chris: Correct. And I think we see that constantly. Compassion, I think this is one of the reason the Dalai Lama says compassion is not religious. We have a lot of people who confuse compassion with some type of religious notion. No. An atheist can have compassion, and I know plenty that do! This idea of compassion is a building process. It helps not only people get up when they’re down, but it moves towards success. And we see this in teams when those guys on baseball - Wallstreet Journal article had this great piece about - they called it “The Glue Guys” on baseball teams. They’re not the guys with the high stats, they’re not the guys that the media is looking after to interview after the game because they want the big name. But they’re the guys that keep the team together. They’re the guys that do the simple things that back each other up. So the second baseman isn’t a star, but he’s backing up a first baseman. So, if the first basemen misses the ball, he’s there to scoop it up. The stats are not really going to show up, but he’s helping his team out, and he’s always there for everyone else. The “Glue Guys” those are the guys helping everyone else, making their team succeed. And I think you look at some of the sports teams that have won the big games, especially in the NBA recently, it’s not necessarily the teams with the superstars on it. It’s the teams that play together and help one another. They know where they’re going to be at. And I think we seem to overlook that fact a lot and so compassion, not only helps people when they’re down, but it builds success.
Matt: So, at a chemical level in your brain, compassion triggers the hormones that are more aligned with sort of the feelings of love and happiness as opposed to empathy which triggers feelings more about pain and suffering? Is that a good way to think about it?
Chris: I think that’s a great description of it, yes. And basically if you look at it a little sideways equation. You have compassion to your left, compassion activated oxytocin to your right, oxytocin activates dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine and serotonin creates happiness and optimism and this calmness, right? What usually leads to success. People thinking in a happy, optimistic, in a calm way.
Matt: So, do you think that compassion is something that is innate, or is it something that can be learned, can be trained?
Chris: Matt, it’s both, and let me explain that. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, famous for The Social Contract, he wrote that we have, in his words, “Natural compassion”, but in society, we tend to unlearn that natural compassion. And think about what we teach on the playgrounds. This really came home to me when I was teaching over in Europe in 2007-2008. I was teaching international relations class, and I was explaining realism, the theory of realism in international relations. Using the “king of the hill” metaphor that we have for kids out in the playground here in the United States. So I say “When you’re on the King of the Hill, top of the hill, what are you supposed to do?” And a hundred and nineteen European students were looking at me like “What are you talking about?” And so, I had to explain. One young lady from Poland breaks her hand and she said “Dr Kukk! What’s king of the hill?” And that explained to 119 European students that when you get on top of the hill, what our kids do in playground is push each other down so they’re on top of the hill. They don’t play king of the hill. They don’t play kill the carrier. So it was a wakeup call to me about “What do we teach our kids in society?” Do we teach them to reach down and help people up, or do keep people from pushing people down? These are practical matters. And we can change that, but we decided to focus on survival of the fittest, instead of survival of the kindness. I think it’s natural and we can unlearn it. And if we can unlearn it, we certainly can learn it. And there have been plenty of studies out there showing that we can learn it, and the United States Marine Corp has also moved in on that as well. They’ve had two studies, two different years now, one million dollars donated to each on mindful training for Marines.
Matt: That’s fascinating. So, how can we - how can the listeners and how can the both of us kind of move towards being more consciously compassionate?
Chris: There’s a lot of different ways to do this. Let me just go through cheap practical ways that I think made news, or even headlines recently. But I want to talk to people about it like, I didn’t see that. Cover of Time Magazine not too long ago had “Mindfulness” on the front of its cover. And I think if we take time out and for some of us, I do meditate in the morning. And I do compassion meditation. It’s quick, takes no more than ten minutes, and you’re off and you kind of just registered yourself to look at yourself to look at the world in a way that, you know, “I’m going through it, and I can help others.” But I always start with someone, for example, my grandmother, who has always helped me. And when I’m out driving, I’m not the guy when someone cuts me off, I’m not the guy who flips them off. I actually bless myself; my grandmother raised me catholic. It’s those guys who think the guy who cut me off was like - that’s the nicest thing anybody’s ever did, and it was a great conversation afterwards. It’s those little things.
In schools, there’s a thing called social and emotional learning that funding for it just passed with the “every student succeeds” act. Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut was a major writer of that section of the bill. That means in learning of values, such a courage, compassion, that help students become more emotionally resilient, and to also recognize and to understand the emotions of others around them. That the world just doesn’t revolve solely around them. That the world is really a combination of relationships and interconnections, and we should start learning that right in Kindergarten all the way up. So those are just two very different ways. Everything from mindful meditation to social emotional learning in school, and let me go to the business world. General Mills, this past year they were a 17.9 billion dollar company. They are famous for a mindful leadership program that they have. Google has it, too. A lot of the successful businesses know that compassion and mindfulness raises the bottom line, it makes their employees have higher intention, employees stay, employees want to stay. Because in the environment it creates more productive employees. This is not something that’s soft, something that - did you hug your dolphin today idea? This is real, this is just real ramifications, consequences, and the effects helps everyone around you. And I think it leads to success in a much more constructive way than the “king of the hill” “survival of the fittest” mentality.
Matt: You touched on so many different things that I want to dig into. One of the meditation obviously, I’m a huge believer in meditation personally I meditate every day for the last couple of years. And we just did a podcast on meditation where we dig into a bunch of different pieces of it. And one of the kind of core components of my personal meditation is sort of very similar. It’s kind of a forgiveness component. And that reminds me of one of my favorite quotes of all time which is from Gandhi, which is “The weak cannot forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” Kind of the notion you’re talking about when you get cut off by someone when you’re driving, the idea that you should forgive people not because necessarily that they deserves it, but because for your own emotional wellbeing and there’s research that backs a lot of this up, it’s bad for you to hold onto grudges. It’s bad for your blood pressure, it’s bad for all kinds of things. The more you can go through life kind of forgiving people and even when we talked in an earlier podcast episode about how to, not necessarily understanding or seeing every piece of reality, right? You might not understand why that person might be in a bad mood today, and so there’s so many different reasons that I think forgiveness is so important. It’s not just about being right or getting revenge or whatever, it’s like you gotta forgive them for your sake, not because, not for their sake necessarily.
Chris: That’s so true and I also just want to build up that you’re right, Matt. The other is self-forgiveness, or self-compassion as well. And there have been plenty of studies as well on self-compassion and how that boosts creativity. So you’re right. I always think when there’s an older woman or older man in front of me, that’s someone’s grandpa, that’s someone grandmother, and you know I can be a minute or two late to where I meant to go. I should have left earlier, it was my issue. But it also builds compassion. And when you step into a place that has compassion flowing through its halls and in its rooms, you can feel it. You can feel the energy. You can feel the electricity and the creativity that’s flowing around.
And speaking of flowing, this is another thing that gets me that I had one mom when I was speaking to a school saying - she literally said this, I don’t want my son to learn compassion, because I don’t want him to be weak. So I asked her, we were in the state of Washington. We’re surrounded by rocks here. Washington State has a lot of rocks. So it’s one of the hardest elements that we have, but the softest element can actually cut through rock. And that’s water. Water with its perseverance and it’s gentleness can still cut through some of the hardest materials we have. We just have to sometimes do some intellectual judo on our own selves to look at the world in a more constructive way. It’s right in front of us, but a lot of times we don’t either see it or want to see it because of the thing that happened to us. Your idea of forgiveness is really key for that. I think it moves us all along and then people are quite surprised when you do do it, and then it leads to better relationships and a better community.
Matt: I love the analogy of water and I think there’s so many I don’t want to go down this road at all but there’s so many different ways you can think about the power of water and energy flow and all of that stuff. It’s such a powerful metaphor for so many different things. But I want to change directions and actually touch on something you brought up a little bit earlier. Tell me a little bit more about the idea of emotional resilience and how can we teach children to be emotionally resilient. We talked about dealing with setbacks and embracing discomfort and some of those other topics in earlier podcast episodes and that’s something that I think is probably one, if not the most important traits that someone can have is kind of the ability to deal with hardship. Tell me a little bit more about that whole kind of concept and how that ties in with compassion as well.
Chris: I think what we’ve done throughout society, is we created this fear of failure. And failure, as you know, [INAUDIBLE 00:25:28] businesses. Some of the major successes come from failures. Right? Because they failed and then they see another door and they’re like “OH!” When they’re down, they can look up and they see the door differently and they can walk through that door and it becomes highly successful. Well, the way we have our focus on tests in schools, kids are afraid to fail. And if we create a place where — most business fail and then they succeed! But when we do it in school? The kids are - they’re just flattened by the idea. Even the idea that you can fail. And have projects that don’t work the first time, but then maybe you have a secondary plan to teach them to look for a secondary way to achieve whatever goal they want to achieve. That’s going to help them in life. In many different ways.
When I was growing up, only the top team received a trophy. And you worked for that trophy. But our coaches didn’t put us down, he’ll build us up. And one of the things that I do with my kids is I have them try things first, and if they don’t succeed I talk - I ask them, I don’t talk. I usually question them, I use a lot of questioning. I question them - how are THEY, not me, how are they going to solve the problem? The more they do that, the more practice they have in finding new ways, new solutions. I tell you, our conversations around the dinner table are awesome because they’re always challenging me from different perspectives. I have so much fun trying to field their questions because they’re constantly coming at me from up, down, sideways, diagonally. And that skill will allow them, I believe, to become resilient in any situation because when they’re down, which they inevitably will - we all get down - I’ve taught them to literally, when you’re down on the ground you look up for that door. Because now you see something different. And that is so much fun to see my kids, my oldest now, he gets excited when something goes wrong because something better is going to happen. You know, maybe that’s a little too far on one side, but that’s what we’re looking to do.
And compassion, if you look at compassion. Dopamine. Oxytocin starts dopamine. And dopamine, in cognitive terms, you know John Medina in his book Brain Rules he has this great analogy for dopamine. He called it the Post-It note for memory. When you have a lot of dopamine flowing around, you tend to remember whatever it is that you’re studying. It’s a brilliant metaphor. I use it all the time with my kids and my students. So, generating oxytocin, generating that compassion creates neurochemical systems in their brain that all of a sudden starts bringing back memories that they think, wait a minute, that’s the answer that I can move forward on to the next thought. And that dopamine increases their feeling of reward. So all of sudden you’ve created - by establishing compassion in an environment - not only something that’s better for them cognitively, but something that will make them more emotionally resilient in finding ways forward. And then serotonin kicks in so it keep them calm so they don’t go flying off the handle or flipping out. That’s how it happens! That’s how it moves forward. That’s how I think you can create emotionally resilient kids. This is something that, I remember my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Peck, this is exactly what she did, her classroom - I couldn’t wait to go to school even when I was sick. She made me love learning just because of the environment she created. She might get arrested now though, nowadays. She used to massage every one of us for ten seconds during a test. I don’t think she’ll be allowed to do that right now in our day and environment. But I couldn’t wait to go to school because she made learning a life-long love of every student she ever touched. That’s what we need. We need more Mrs. Pecks around the world.
Matt: It’s amazing that, when I think about some of the stuff we’ve talked about on earlier episodes whether it’s the growth mindset. You know, earlier before we started recording, Chris was showing me the book Mindset which we’ve talked about on the podcast. Whether it’s stoicism, these two thousand year old lessons. There’s this - the more you study a lot of this stuff, and it’s amazing that the more you find, it’s all rooted in Science. It’s just these fundamental lessons that span thousands of years in human generations that you know, it’s sort a core kernel nugget of truth that you have to be resilient and you have to be focused on overcoming your failures.
Chris: Yes. And life’s about that. If you think about it — I love white water rafting. Life is a lot like white water rafting, or surfing. There are different rocks, different bends in the river, or in surfing - the waves come t you. You can’t choose what waves come at you, but you certainly can choose which waves you’re going to ride. And helping people find those waves that they want to ride to the shore of life? Oh my God, it’s a beautiful thing. Watching them choose their own waves as they get older? That’s what it’s about. And creating an environment where they feel safe enough to do that. Where they’re willing to take chances. If they’re willing to take chances, they’re willing to fail. And if they’re willing to fail, they’re willing to get themselves back up. They’re willing to get themselves back up - watch out for the society that that’s happening in because it’s going to take off.
Matt: I totally agree. I think that stuff is so important. So, I’m curious, in your Ted-X talk, you talked about - again, this ties in a little bit back into the idea of parenting and dealing with children. You talked about the idea of - I think it was even about talking to your kids about why there’s so much evil in the world, right? And how can we kind of widen our - I think you used the term “circle of compassion” to sort of deal with that, or counteract, or — you know, I don’t remember the exact terminology. But tell me a little bit more about that concept and how from a broader perspective we can start to widen that circle of compassion.
Chris: Yeah, thanks for that. The Sandy Hook town is less than 15 minutes away from our house. And so they knew what happened. And I came home early from school so I made sure I took them off the bus and we just sat in the living room and talked about what happened. Even though they were very young, you can’t hide it, they know. They’ve heard. And so I wanted them to talk about it and their concerns about it. But that comes from a visit from the Dalai Lama at Western Connecticut State University, we hosted His Holiness for two days of talks here. And it was pretty amazing, hopefully we’ll get him back again. And what I wanted, and what we’ve done, I didn’t want just a one-and-done event, I wanted an event that would carry on and have ramifications and effects and consequences in a good way after he left. So we started putting together - there were quite a few - the Center for Compassion, Creativity, and Innovation. And he loved it so much, saw what our mission was, what we wanted to do. And he donated the first $107,000 dollars to move the center along. And basically what the center does is widen that circle of compassion. Because we go around and help towns and cities and universities and schools become school and university and towns of compassions. And what we try to help them do. We help the chart for compassion which was started by Karen Armstrong, she wanted that Ted Talk one year, I’m forgetting - I think it was around 2006. For the charter for compassion, creating charters all around the world and - we thought that was a great idea. But we wanted every single community to tailor-fit that charter of communication for them. Because every community had its own issues, its own problems they need to solve. So there’s no kind of one compassion suit to fit all. There’s different ways to get there. And so what we do is, we help those schools and universities and cities and towns move forward in that direction. And that is one way that we do it.
We also do it on the practical on a very local level. I’ve combined high school students with college students to address the homeless problem in our area. So, in the past year, we had 50 backpacks that the students, high school and college students, found donors for. Getting dental clinics - got toothpaste and toothbrushes. Went to the hotels in our area. So everyone else pitched in and they see the kids try to overcome the problem. And so they donated more than what we asked. It just kind of rolled. And became bigger. It’s kind of like when you create a snowman, and you’re rolling that little snowball becomes the base. That’s exactly what happened - we created this whole compassion base and we can build whatever snowman we want, and by the way, it gets pretty cold here so it won’t melt away. And it’s so awesome to see that it started with kids helping adults find their compassion. So everything from helping policy happen, to helping address the homeless issue. Now we even have a project - we convinced the Mayor of the city of Danbury to give us the land all around city hal to create a compassion garden, representing all the ethnicities in the city of Danbury. So, high school students now even elementary school students, we got women’s gardening club wanting to help. Some corporations are donating the flowers and the whole areas are going to have a walk-in path representing all the ethnicities in that city. And they’re calling it a compassion garden. So, everything from gardens, homelessness, to creating policies to move policies along. That’s how we’re doing. That’s how we’re widening the circle of compassion.
Matt: That’s fascinating. And you kind of spoiled one of my questions - I was going to ask you, I was very curious. About how you had met the Dalai Lama.
Chris: We invited him to come to campus, and we thought he was going to come for a day - but he stayed for two! Which was amazing. It’s up, recorded, on our website. And the Center for Compassion, Creativity, and Innovation are linked to those hour - little over an hour long presentations by His Holiness.
Matt: Well, I’m curious, for listeners that are really interested in compassion and learning more about this, what are some of the resources or books that you would recommend that they check out?
Chris: Wow. There’s so many. Just looking at my bookshelf right now. I have - one of my favorites. I used it quite a lot, was the Dalai Lama’s The Universe in a Single Atom.
Matt: I love that title.
Chris: It is a great book, as well. The Compassionate Instinct is another good one. Buddha’s Brain is a great one. Anything by Dave [INAUDIBLE 00:36:51] fantastic. On the more social learning side, the newest book out, it was published this year, 2016, Emotions, Learning, and the Brain by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang. Fantastic book. The forward is written by Howard Gardener, and the afterward by Antonio Demasio. So, you have this great education in neuroscience book out there that I think moves it forward. How to be Compassionate by the Dalai Lama, another good book. Mindfulness, with Nurture Effect. There’s so many great ones out there, I think those are some of the top book that
Matt: So, what is one piece of sort of actionable homework that you would give to our listeners in terms of maybe applying compassion in their lives?
Chris: Okay. One it to understand, to listen. The first step in compassion is to be a great listener. What I mean, listeners - you don’t listen to reply, you listen to understand. And if you want to be compassionate, you have to understand that person that you’re trying to help. We have a culture that listens to reply right now. And I think if we take a little bit longer to simply listen to understand, we’d be able to move forward together in a much more constructive way.
Matt: I love that, I think that’s great. There’s actually a bunch of research on the communication side that you build report much better with people when you listen with the intent of understanding as opposed to listening just so you can say whatever you want to say after that.
Matt: So what is the best place for people find you online?
Chris: My website. It’s chriskukk.com You’ll see there also, there will be a new book coming out called The Compassionate Achiever that will address a lot of these steps and show you practically how to get there. But the first step is listening.
Matt: Awesome. Well, Chris, thank you so much for being on the Science of Success. The audience is going to absolutely love all of this stuff. I think compassion is something that we don’t talk about enough and it’s so important. And it’s scientifically validated as kind of a chemical, neurological level, something that can create positive results in your life, and it’s something that can spread out into your community. So, thank you so much for being on here, Chris.
Chris: Well, I can’t thank you enough, Matt. I’m a big fan of the podcast so this is an honor for me to be on the Science of Success. Thank you.
Matt: Thank you very much.