Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

“Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins. And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.” — Barack Obama

In these last few months, if there has been a common denominator in my video-conferences, calls and interactions it has been empathy and solidarity. Having analyzed the situation, I have come to the conclusion that when we have a “common enemy”, especially one who is not human, in this case a virus, which affects us all in some way or another (it can be physically, psychologically or economically), we all seem to put ourselves in the shoes of others and become extremely empathetic.

Empathy, in my humble opinion, is one of the most necessary and finest qualities that humans have, but we don’t use it often enough. Isn’t it extremely important to understand others? Aren’t we all better off being aware and sensitive to other’s feelings and situations?

Albert Einstein said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

For the past 2 months, I have felt more empathy than ever, not only in myself towards others, but in others towards me and between themselves. I have witnessed a sense of comradery and union that I had not felt since September 19, 2017, the day a terrible earthquake hit Mexico City. On that day, we were faced with a common enemy, not human, and all of the people in the city united in support of others. That feeling of unity, friendliness, goodwill, and familiarity among people is a very strong force.

For centuries we have been trained and educated to be self reliant, to lead, to stand out, to “make it on our own”. But when we are faced with a crisis, a new paradigm arises: stronger together.

With the current global crises, I have seen support campaigns, companies offering their services for free, entrepreneurs supporting other entrepreneurs, among many other amazing activities. Platforms such as donadora.com and change.org have been more active than ever. Specifically in Mexico, given the lack support from the government, these movements have become even bigger and more important; people are coming together through different organizations, associations and groups. People are showing genuine interest in the welfare of others. People are coming together to help those in need.

My feeling is that several of these recently created groups are going to have a huge impact and they’re going to last many more years to come. My hope is that this feeling of empathy will not fade away. My dream is that this solidarity will not be taken away from us. This storm has come to take us out of our comfort zone for the better and hopefully for the long term. I invite you all to reflect on this and build together, to bring our ideas and solutions into community, to work in teams.

If there is one thing I am certain about it is that this will pass, and I am sure we’re going to get out of this stronger and better. I know that DILA and our portfolio companies will be on the other side to welcome you all with the best products and services on the market.

Alejandro Diez Barroso. General Partner @ DILA Capital, a venture capital firm focused on Latin American and Hispanic startups.