Accept that others contribute to one's success

Dr William Wan is right in urging a fundamental change to our mindsets so as to be kinder to others, especially strangers (How to be kinder to strangers in Singapore; Dec 20).

Empathy requires a person to place himself in the shoes of others and see the world from their point of view.

However, meritocracy seems to breed a sense of elitism, where people have the tendency to feel superior because they believe they made it in life solely through their own merits.

Feeling superior and better than others can cripple one's ability to be empathetic.

We can begin to experience some empathy for others when we abandon the notion that we succeed through our own merits alone.

We can begin to experience some empathy for others when we abandon the notion that we succeed through our own merits alone.

We need to accept the reality that many people contribute to our successes in life, including strangers who work and live among us.

Only when we realise this can we become kinder and more gracious people.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2017, with the headline 'Accept that others contribute to one's success'. Print Edition | Subscribe