Monday, April 29, 2013

The World Needs More Love

When I started out in early 2009 to share a few “lessons and stories of leadership and life,” I had no idea that now 89 essays later (yes this is #90!) I would still have a number of things to share, and maybe none more timely and important than this topic today. Over the years I have often jokingly shared in a moment of business strife , or petty personal turbulence, that “the world needs more love” ; trying in my own way to nudge the listeners of the moment to try to choose a more hopeful, maybe even a more loving solution to the issue at hand. Well surrounded and at moments engulfed in the violent madness of our times, this “quippy” admonition seems timely and very important.

It was two weeks ago that I landed in Boston, the morning of the marathon, to attend a 3 day global leadership conference. Our hotel was about a mile from the finish line and we had a member of our team running in the marathon that fateful Monday and a few of us were planning on going over to watch him finish. Due to some “required “rehearsals that afternoon, I stayed back at the hotel while a few members of our team headed over to the finish line. At 2:50pm that afternoon, everything changed with the twin explosions and the senseless injury and death brought on to so many innocent bystanders. Standing in the hotel lobby a mile away, I watched with the world the news headlines as sirens streamed by heading to the bomb site. Quickly armed police came to our hotel and everything went into a lockdown mode. Surprisingly quickly we were able to contact our friends who were over near the finish line. All were physically ok but it would take hours before they could work their way back to our hotel. Obviously so many others were not nearly so fortunate and over the past two weeks the violent and senseless madness of the Tsarnaev brothers has been evident to the world.

With that said, if you actually take a close look at the headlines over just the past two weeks, they are filled with violence and madness all across our world. Now it is so easy for me to say that “the world needs more love”, but I feel strongly that we are going in exactly the wrong direction. Regardless of creed, nationality, age, sex, or belief system, the world does not need more hatred or violence! It does not need more cynicism or critique! It does not need more maiming or killing of innocent children! It does not need more weapons or war! It DOES need more love!

Over the past 89 essays I have tried to keep my personal political and spiritual views on the sidelines knowing how divisive those topics can be. Instead I have tried to share my ideas and suggestions in ways that would, or at least could, appeal to a broad set of readers regardless of orientation or nationality. It’s actually very interesting to see that of the almost 15000 readers so far, there is a wide audience of readers from countries so varied as Ukraine, Iran, The Netherlands and Canada. It’s in that spirit that I want to quote a previous essay (The Golden Rule at Dulles Airport.) In looking over religions spanning across countries and continents, there is a strong common thread that we should treat others as we wish to be treated. Reflect on the commonality across so many traditions!

The Universality of the Golden Rule in the World Religions

Christianity All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:1
Confucianism Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
Analects 12:2
Buddhism Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Udana-Varga 5,1
Hinduism This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
Mahabharata 5,1517
Islam No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
Judaism What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Taoism Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
Zoroastrianism That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.
Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

Now maybe my simple admonition might seem a touch naïve and that the idea that “the world needs more love” should be obvious to all. It is certainly clear from the headlines of our time that we need to work harder on this idea, actually working to turn this concept/idea/belief into real action; actually choosing paths and actions of love not hate rather than being the innocent bystanders on the sidelines of this race we call life.

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