With the passing of Senator John McCain and those of his generation we are losing a generation that integrated community service into the very fabric of their lives. They didn’t carve out a certain number of hours per month to do “volunteer” work. Every day they served their community. In fact, their entire lives were dedicated to serving their communities and their country.
They lived compassionately. They saw the needs or distress of others and they were moved to help them. That is the definition of compassion.
Compassion is powerful because it creates meaningful connections. In our evolutionary process, we formed communities in order to survive and therefore we are biologically programed to connect with others. When we connect it with others it feels good because it taps into one of our most basic human needs. Connecting with others activates pleasure centers in our brains.
Compassion is not a luxury. Researchers at universities all around the country and world have shown that compassion is essential to our survival. Contrary to some modern messages, we can’t go it alone. We need each other. In fact, a lack of compassion is more detrimental to our health than smoking, diabetes or obesity.
Compassion, not only helps us survive, but it also helps us thrive. It improves our:
our health (physical and mental),
our educational institutions and
Compassion makes us better and more successful:
Businesses that develop a culture of compassion actually earn more money.
As we have seen over the past week or so, John McCain left a legacy of love, compassion and community service. He was driven by a desire to serve the “greater good” – to help everyone. Let’s learn from the likes of John McCain and his generation. Let’s integrate compassion into the very fabric of our lives. Then we will create a world in which we all cannot only survive but thrive. By living a compassionate life, we will leave a valuable, lasting legacy in the lives and hearts of our family, friends, community and world.
What will be your legacy?