Transforming the World Through Compassion Quotient

Compassion Quotient
3 Minutes Read

By Kailash Satyarthi
Compassion has the tremendous power of social transformation to attain justice, peace and sustainability. Beyond societal benefits, compassion ensures personal growth, happiness and mental peace. While most of us are familiar with Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) which are used to measure the level of human intelligence and emotions, respectively, there is no tool to measure the level of compassion in individuals. Let me share my ideas on developing such a tool – the Compassion Quotient (CQ).
Over the years, I have encountered hundreds of activists and thousands of volunteers who have supported my cause of working for the most marginalized and excluded. As anticipated, their knowledge, understanding, skill set, capacity for learning, reasoning, and problem-solving varied, and so did their emotional behaviour. However, the most significant difference I noted was the level of their connection, feeling, and drive to act with the suffering of desperate parents and children, who would often reach out to us with the hope of being supported. A few activists remained unaffected; some momentarily showed empathy before moving on, while some were deeply affected by the parents’ anguish and took prompt action to solve their problems.
This difference was due to their varied levels of compassion. Compassion is the deepest connection with the suffering of others that compels one to take urgent action to alleviate that suffering. In simpler words, compassion is selfless problem-solving.
Biological and neurological research has scientifically proven that humans are born with an inherent capacity for compassion. However, over time, we restrict our compassion to the people closest to us—our family and friends. For the betterment of oneself and society, we must explore ways and means to expand our circles of compassion to encompass the wider community and the planet.

Similar to IQ and EQ, a method to measure a person’s ability for compassion is Compassion Quotient (CQ). Compassion Quotient (CQ) is a framework to give an individual a factual and objective picture of his/her existing level of compassion, the extent of its practice, and their ability to transform their environment and the world.
The level of Compassion Quotient (CQ) can differ significantly between individuals, depending on a range of factors including their genetic makeup, family environment, their educational and socio-cultural background, exposure, personal beliefs and influences.
Compassion has tremendous benefits. Compassionate people are happier, more content, resilient, and peaceful and enjoy better relationships in their personal and social lives. Individuals with a higher CQ are innovative problem-solvers, exhibit leadership qualities, and are considered more authentic and respected.
To measure the ability for compassion or Compassion Quotient, one has to measure three things broadly – connection, feelings and actions. They could further be broken into nine modules of CQ.
a) Cognisance: acknowledging another person’s suffering
b) Connection: connecting with that suffering
c) Feeling: feeling the suffering as their own
d) Awareness: being fully aware of their thoughts and feelings
e) Unison: an objective oneness with the sufferer without being consumed by their suffering
f) Desire: desire to alleviate the pain and suffering of the other
g) Idea: the thoughts that go into problem-solving
h) Drive: the strong motivation and focus to implement the ideas
I) Action: finally, the person is compelled to take action to alleviate the suffering

Each of the above nine Modules can be measured individually. CQ is the consolidated evaluation of these Modules. We can design a metric to understand the permutations and combinations to measure the ability of compassion.
Similarly, Compassion Quotient of institutions and organisations could be measured by assessing their working environment and governance, including gender equity, inclusiveness, respect for diversity, openness to listen and learn, communication, behaviour, human dignity, sustainability and friendliness. Higher CQ means a stress-free atmosphere, collective ownership, team spirit, and higher productivity.
Through my work over the years, I have witnessed a higher level of compassion, CQ, among individuals who spent quality time with child survivors and youth leaders at our child-friendly communities and our rehabilitation centre, Bal Ashram. These included academicians, politicians, medical professionals, journalists, corporate leaders, young people, and volunteers from India and abroad. Many also expressed awe at the remarkable transformation they felt. They all observed that the compassion amongst children, community members, teachers, and activists was highly contagious. People who were involved in direct action or social mobilisation reported similar experiences. Therefore, we can and must increase our Compassion Quotient through exposure, experiential learning, education, training, volunteering, meditation, and other methods.
Once we ignite our inherent spark of compassion, it will extend to all walks of life, including corporate, educational, medical and political institutions, eventually spreading to all living beings and the entire planet. In today’s broken and divided world with growing uncertainties, enhancing Compassion Quotient can create a new paradigm for solving these pressing problems. We can reinvigorate the dormant power of humanity by creating a culture of compassion.

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All humans are born with an inherent capacity for Compassion. A compassionate person’s response to the suffering of self and others is instantaneous and instinctive. Compassion is the driving force that steers us from cognizance to compassion in action.

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