When I was 16 I was driving alone from a youth conference in Sacramento back to my home in the Bay Area. It was pretty late, I was tired, and even I could tell I was driving erratically; I'd glance down at the speedometer and it would be 20 miles above or below the speed limit in alternation. I really didn't have the driving experience to realize how unsafe this was.
I got pulled over by CHP. As I pulled off the road on an off-ramp I was pretty nervous as this was the first time I had ever been pulled over. The cop came over and got my license and registration but he never ran them. He just said that they had been following me for a while and that it was clear to them that I was trying to drive safely but not able to do so. I told him where I was coming from and that I was just trying to get home. He explained that driving tired is just as bad as driving drunk.
Instead of giving me a ticket, he pointed down the offramp to a place I could get some coffee and rest. He asked if I had enough money to get some coffee and offered to give me some if I didn't. He said if I really couldn't get back to an alert state that I should call a friend or my parents and get a ride because what I was doing wasn't safe for myself or other drivers.
Honestly, I can't imagine that getting a ticket would have had nearly as big an impact on my driving as the short, compassionate conversation that officer had with me that night.
Being compassionate with people, helps in finding solutions to the problem at hand without giving rise to conflicts. Albert Einstein said:
"A human being is a part of the whole called by us, Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
The next time you have to reprimand your kid or your team member, take a pause and work out your approach. Be Compassionate.