Eli Schwamm: Real Empathy (#133)
Our Guest Today: Eli Schwamm
Meet today’s superhero, Eli Schwamm, who has appeared on an earlier episode of Feisworld in Episode 27 (nearly 3 years ago), where he introduced himself with a rap song he had written. That episode remains to be one of the most popular, most downloaded of all time.
While in high school, Eli learned to produce music, had a near 4.0 GPA, and volunteered at Samaritans in Boston for a few years. He even went back there to continue his work during the summer when he’s in college.
So where has he been? Where is he now?
Eli and I talked about giving and receiving feedback, a more authentic understanding of empathy, his relentless curiosity towards the healthcare system.
He interned at Mass General Hospital, Boston Medical Center, and received his EMT certification.
Eli believes that there is a special connection between people that is “only uniquely possible in a healthcare setting”.
Now as a Junior at Vassar college, Eli spends his “off hours” working at a transitional community helping previously incarcerated young adults.
This conversation intrigued me to rethink the possibilities for millennials. What can they do to make the world a better place, for themselves?
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- [06:00] Last time we talked about joining the Samaritans. Can you update us what you’ve
- been since then?
- [10:00] You have empathy beyond average in your age. Are you aware of this and how do you see yourself with it?
- [13:00] Fei and Eli discussing being a good listener
- [16:00] Fei and Eli chatting on how to give and receive feedback, and one particular experience with Eli.
- [22:00] When you pick up these activities, this maturity towards helping others while learning and becoming a better person, were you inspired by your parents?
- [23:00] Fei sharing differences between family life, work-life balance
- and Eli’s experience when he was a kid and his parents were working.
- [25:00] How was your experience being an assistant/ambulance driver? How did this come about?
- [29:00] What was your role in this experience? How were you assisting them?
- [31:00] You mentioned that you need to be extra careful when asking the questions to your patients, because of how they can interpret them and feel. What kind of tricks did you learn from this?
- [34:00] Fei sharing her experience when she served as a translator for her mom while she was at the hospital, and relating to Eli’s experience.
- [38:00] How do you find these opportunities and experiences?
- [41:00] From your experience surveying patients with an iPad, what have you learned as surprising findings?
- [43:00] What are your thoughts regarding palliative care vs hospice care? Is there any other are you are interested?
- [46:00] What are your thoughts with regards to picking up one of these activities during the school year versus during the summer, what do you prefer?
[11:00] Everyone comes into this world as their own person and there’s no way I can fully encapsulate somebody else’s experience. And that becomes really important because often I see people using this concept of empathy as a way to justify making decisions for other people. For example in humanitarian aid, where people in a position of power use empathy as a way to justify telling people what are suffering what they need, as opposed to listening to people that are suffering…
[15:00] I think I will never be able to say ‘I’m a good listener’ because I feel that as soon as I say that I become complacent and I stop listening. Especially when it comes to things like criticism, as soon as I think I’m good at receiving feedback, that’s the time I think I’ll close myself off and become complacent.
[27:00] It’s really important in those interactions to approach the person at their level, not at this level of ‘I know what’s best’, but rather at this level of ‘tell me what’s bothering you and I’ll do my best’.
[49:00] The world is filled with people who are passionate about things. I think it’s important to be consistent and to not spend a bunch of money into some hobby and then drop the hobby sometime in the future, but I think it’s also really OK for me to experience different things. And I hope to continue for the rest of my life to have things that I’m committed to, like my career, my family, and then to also leave myself the space to explore and to try to find other things.
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