Monday, March 12, 2018

Smile, It's Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Make a Difference in the World

You are connected to every other human being
you’ve ever encountered by a universal life force.
This synergy can give rise to your passion

--- Anthony Silard

A question I am often asked is, “If I haven’t suffered a lot in my life, does it mean I can’t have any passion?” I respond that the good news is your passion doesn’t have to come from your own suffering. 

I’ve observed in many of my clients that the flip side of an easy, sheltered childhood can be a lack of passion to change anything in the world. (If you are content with the cards the world has dealt you, after all, why change the deck?)

I’ve also had the privilege of working with many others who, despite enormous privilege, have found their passion through opening their hearts to others.

How does this occur? When someone else suffers, you suffer too. If this weren’t the case, you would never cry during a movie. The same is true with joy. Watch someone smile, and you will smile. When a friend laughs, you laugh. 

The passion created inside you when you observe others suffering comes from compassion—com, “with” and passion, “to suffer.”

Compassion doesn’t mean “to suffer with,” which would bring you down and render you unable to sustain your caring for the other person, but “to be with someone in their suffering.”

This week, find a cause you believe in and contact an organization that appears to be doing good work in this area and ask how you can help. Even a small amount of interaction with people less fortunate than you may be all it takes to ignite the fire within.

Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through purchases, click here.

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