A decade ago, an essay was written entitled “Always Go to the Funeral” and it has resurfaced recently. The author makes a powerful point, taught by her father’s actions, that we should make the effort to extend ourselves, or put ourselves in uncomfortable situations for the benefit of others. We all know what it means to be a hero. We just held a remembrance of those lost in the attacks of 9/11. When someone sees the weak or helpless in harm’s way, we act to save and support.
But in this article, Deirdre Sullivan argues that when opportunities arise for a kind act, we should pursue it, even when it is inconvenient. A seemingly slight gesture, or offering of mere presence, may be awkward, may be bothersome, but can have a lasting impact. It’s always better to do something than to take the easier way out. As Ms. Sullivan, wrote:
“I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that…‘Always go to the funeral’ means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to. I’m talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The shiva call for one of my ex’s uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.”
We all know what it is to be heroic. But when we see other’s in pain or suffering, do we also act rather than ignore?
I would like to expand upon this. In life, any act of kindness can have a profound impact, not just when it is burdensome and inconvenient.
When we consider our core values – #SeeTheGoodInAllPeople and #DoingTheRightThingWhenNoOneElseIsLooking – we must acknowledge that being kind and helpful are the natural outcome. I believe that one of the worst passive sins is being inconsiderate. You don’t mean someone ill, but you don’t consider the other person when you act. You may neglect them or overlook them. It can hurt them.
So doing something when you could do nothing, even when it is burdensome, that is a good thing. And even greater is when you think about others before or when you think about yourself.
Perhaps these are the 3 levels of being Selfless versus Selfish.
1. Acting courageously in the face of crisis and danger to save and help others.
2. Acting kindly when it is inconvenient and burdensome.
3. Thinking of others proactively and sharing a simple thought or act of kindness.
Now let’s examine our Purpose at LegalShield – we protect and empower people. We have a culture of servant leadership. We need to live this when we introduce people to LegalShield membership or the business opportunity. We are thinking about them. They may be facing a crisis. They may need a helping hand and don’t expect it from you. And perhaps most of all, when you share the good news, and then you show that you are considering them, and not focusing upon yourself.
What we are talking about are purposeful acts of kindness.
We have heard of Random Acts of Kindness. Psychologists believe that spontaneous giving to others is essential to our well-being. It liberates us from self-obsession, selfishness, and isolation. They are the effect of an open and loving nature. True generosity is giving without expectation, with no need to be repaid in any form. This is the most powerful act of generosity, as it is unconditional, unattached, and free to land wherever it will. Whether we give to our family, friends, or to strangers, it is the same.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “almost anything we do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that we do it.”
Now let us return to the purposeful life; to a life that purposefully gives in order to protect and empower people.
Can there be anything more inspiring, noble and honorable?
Doing good versus doing nothing.
If it seems insignificant, we still must do it.
Making a living while making a difference.
My name is Jeff Bell, and I am just getting started.
We are LegalShield, and the best is yet to come.