Albert Schweitzer once wrote, “The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
Schweitzer was one of the world’s greatest interpreters of Bach and often gave recitals in cathedrals all over Europe. His philosophical speeches and writings made him famous throughout his lifetime. Yet he chose to become an accomplished doctor and research scientist, in order to spend most of his long life as a missionary doctor in the tiny village of Lambarene, in the Gabon province of French Equatorial Africa.
With the world at his feet, Dr Schweitzer chose to turn his back on both fame and fortune in order to build a hospital for the ‘forgotten people’ on the banks of the Ogowe River.
The world now remembers him not for his achievements in music, nor for his books or even the Nobel Peace Prize he won. He is remembered because he chose to share his life generously with those in need.
Albert Schweitzer backed up his compassion, which is a sympathetic emotion created by the misfortunes of another, and then accompanied that desire to help with compulsion.
And what is compulsion?
Compulsion is the act of compelling or the state of being compelled; a strong, irresistible impulse to carry out an act. The good book states very clearly that ‘faith without works is dead.’ In the same way, compassion without compulsion is powerless. It is in the doing that things get done.
It is in the pushing out from the shore of comfort that you and I can reach the heights of our greatest potential. Compassion is the feeling and the empathy, whereas compulsion is the action that will meet the need. Apart they are impotent. Together they can transform the world within which you and I live.
Etty Hillesum, a Jewish young woman, was 29 years old when she died in Auschwitz on November 1943.
Both her diaries and her letters were published more than 40 years after her death, and what was revealed from all her writings was that she had a heart full of compassion for her fellow prisoners as they suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime during the Second World War.
Here is one portion of a letter that Etty wrote whilst knowing that her life could be taken at any time:
‘The FEW BIG THINGS that matter in life are what we have to keep in mind; the rest can be quietly abandoned. And you can find those few big things anywhere, you have to keep rediscovering them in yourself so that you can be renewed. And in spite of everything you always end up with the same conviction: life is good after all…’
And to me, two of the FEW BIG THINGS that matter more than most is the ability to find COMPASSION in our heart, and then the COMPULSION to then take what is in our heart and to translate it into positive action.
So my question to you is this - Do you have a cause? Do you have within you a driving ambition? Do you spend more time thinking of ways that you can add to another life rather than positioning yourself to be always on the take?
COMPASSION IS EMPOWERED WHEN ENJOINED BY COMPULSION
That is why we must pursue a vision for our life. There must be more than having a 9 to 5 mentality where we work for money to pay the bills all our life. We have been planted on planet earth for a purpose and to have an impact on both this and future generations. Make it your determination to leave a legacy and not a debt. Find within your being the compassion to reach out to another and invest in their lives. Don’t live the moment for yourself. Divide the moment with another.
If you have joy, share joy. If you have a gift, give it away. If you have knowledge, find a pupil to whom you can teach. Don’t keep all the money to yourself. Tithe and make financial giving a pattern for your life.
It’s not surprising that within the word compassion is found the word compass. Our true north will only be found if we choose to live a compassionate life.
COMPASSION IS THE COMPASS THAT WILL GUIDE YOU TO A RICH LIFE
For as you transform your compassion into continual and repeated acts of compulsion, you will find that the meaning of your life will be unveiled in ways that you would never have imagined.
Succeed so that you can pass that success onto others. Pursue financial independence so that you can give back time and money to your community.
Follow your ENTREPRENEURIAL passion by answering these questions: How could I make more money and feel more secure? What kind of work would make me feel better about myself? What have I always dreamed of doing and why don’t I do it? Would starting my own business help me to resolve these questions? If so, what kind of business would I like to start, to own and to build?
Or maybe you’re an INTRAPRENEUR who is happy working for others. Ask yourself these questions:What can I do in my current position to use my talents more effectively so that I am more satisfied? How can I help my boss to make a bigger profit? How can I help the business I work for become more efficient? How can I help to improve the safety and comfort of our workplace? What needs to be corrected? How could we achieve a greater level of excellence?
By answering these questions openly and honestly you can start to demonstrate the winning qualities of a compassionate compulsive.
Compassion’s compulsion will pave the way to a wonderful life for not only you, but for your family, friends, associates and the world that is touched by your life’s work.
Encompass your life with compassion and you will be surrounded by good things