Click: Matthieu Ricard – How to let altruism be your guide
Altruism is doing something selfless for no benefit other than the satisfaction of knowing you were kind. Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk and sometimes called “the happiest man in the world,” talks about how we need altruism today more than ever. With our population recently passing 7 billion, there’s not quite enough to go around. He says that altruism is now necessary for our survival and if we all act more selflessly we will decrease hunger and pollution and preserve our world’s natural beauty.
On a smaller scale, we can make our families, cities, and countries more beautiful with more altruism. Kindness can manifest in doing something thoughtful for someone we love or volunteering on a local park cleanup. The added benefit of altruism is it provides a deep sense of satisfaction and brings meaning to our lives. Next time you feel down, try doing a kindness for a stranger (perhaps buy a homeless person a meal or give the person next to you on the train a compliment) and watch how it changes your mood.
Kindness is contagious, too. Remember the movie “Pay it Forward?” Each altruistic act received generated three more acts of kindness. Kindness spread like wildfire. If we contribute to a kindness epidemic we could do the world a whole lot of good.