Story: Our 11-year-old grandson Logan and I went on a ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston, WA the other day. It’s a fun, short trip across the shipping lanes of Puget Sound, to get a super delicious ice cream cone from MORA. While we were waiting to get on the ferry, an older, somewhat unkempt man was shuffling to-and-fro in front of us. He was obviously very anxious. The man was worried about whether he would miss the boarding, where he should sit, etc. When we landed in Kingston, we noticed him asking others where he might meet his ride. As we sat outside MORA enjoying our ice cream, Logan noticed the man sitting on a bench, anxiously searching for his ride. Logan says to me, “Gramps, I’m going to buy and bring him an ice cream cone.”
Key Point: Compassion essentially is a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved . How gratifying it was to see that quality so alive in our grandson, Logan. Why it is so important, of course, is that compassion invites to act with understanding, patience and kindness, rather than perhaps fear or repulsion. From the outside, the anxious man was disheveled and superficially unattractive; a person many would want to overlook. Logan not only saw him, he genuinely felt for him.
As a grandfather, I do not want my grandchildren to blindly follow a living narrative which has been dominated by competition and self-interest. Why blithely accept that it’s a “dog eat dog” world, where others are to be viewed primarily as rivals? Of course, I do not want them to be naive and taken advantage of either.
So back to my post retirement “weeding.” I am more convinced than ever that compassion needs to take central residence in our workplace. It’s not just something we should do, BUT rather what we want to do, and naturally feel compelled to act upon. Why? The research essentially reinforces that compassion makes us happier:
- Compassion gives us a sense of greater purpose beyond much of today’s trivial distractions.
- It makes us more optimistic, more patient with ourselves and others.
- It also makes us less lonely and afraid. It is the gateway to more COURAGE too!So what can you and I do?
Personal Leadership Moves:
- Most of us need to learn more about compassion. I encourage you to join me in reading the following: A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives by Thupten Jinpa, PhD, and Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff. I know our readers have other recommendations too.
- Join me and others in connecting the importance of further developing compassion for self and others to the world of culture/work. Let’s make it more of a central conversation.
- We need to connect as people for the advancement of humankind. Will you join me in expressing the more compassionate part of who we naturally are?
More compassion in Personal Leadership,
One Millennial View: I believe my base starts at a pretty compassionate place, but after reading this I admittedly thought, “well of course I (and 99 percent of others) want the suffering of others to be relieved,” and became frustrated at the idea of feeling I needed to know more on the subject. I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I can probably do some more exploring on compassion.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis