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Is Winning Everything?

If your competitor made a mistake and stopped 10 meters before the finish line would you let them know? On December 2, 2012 Abel Mutai, a Kenyan athlete, stopped short 10 meters before the finish line in the Burlada cross-country race. Spanish athlete Ivan Fernandez Anaya could have easily surged past Abel to win the race, but sportsmanship and compassion guided him to signal to Abel to finish the race.

Life Coaching Washington DC

Ivan later said, “I didn’t deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.”

In 2013, Helen Wang, a graduate student in clinical psychology from University of Wisconsin- Madison, created a study around compassion. “Our fundamental question was, ‘Can compassion be trained and learned in adults? Can we become more caring if we practice that mindset?'” The study concluded that yes, “It’s kind of like weight training … we found that people can actually build up their Learning Compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.”


With skillful Life Coaching Washington DC, and meaningful discourse, compassion can indeed be taught, even to the most willful participants. It’s a life skill and a ready Mindset,  and flexibility is essential to any dilemma. Participants shared their regimen for successful collaboration within the program—most found the irony is in taking care of yourself first. And most admitted to failure on at least 1 or 2 occasions from which they had gained new knowledge, a host of resources, and a repertoire of alternative approaches. “Daily maintenance is essential,” commented one seasoned staffer, “for a healthy balance.”

If compassion can be enhanced with training and practice. What will you do today that builds your muscle of compassion? Are there small ways that you can integrate acts of kindness in your day?

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