Like many of you, I was deeply saddened to learn of Leonard Nimoy’s passing this week. Since this is a blog about being both compassionate and logical at the same time, I think it is pretty clear that I, like so many of my fellow nerds, hope to follow in Mr. Nimoy’s footsteps – not just in being an intelligent, accomplished person, but also in being a caring and compassionate one. Today, in his honor, I wanted to talk about the many ways in which being compassionate is actually a quite logical choice.
#1: Helping others makes you feel good.
Studies have shown that people are more happy when they are giving money away than they are when spending it on themselves. Think about this in terms of your own life: how many times have you felt really good about yourself after helping someone in need? Have you ever gotten those same warm-and-fuzzies from buying yourself something nice? While material pleasures can be fun, they don’t bring quite the same level of joy.
#2: Kindness spreads.
Human beings are social animals, and we tend to mimic one another’s behavior. When we are kind to one another, not only does it make us happier, but that behavior will tend to spread through a community. Which is more valueable: a fashion trendsetter, or a kindness one? Of course, I guess you can always be both.
#3: Having a sense of purpose (beyond simply caring for yourself) will make your feel better about your life.
Just like spending money on onesself is less fulfulling that spending it on other people, many of us are seeking a higher purpose in our life on the whole. Well, good news for those of us questing for meaning in our lives – studies have shown that people who pursue a meaningful life actually are happier that people who are simply pursuing happiness.
#4: Embracing empathy will make you better at your job.
Kindness pays, in quite the literal sense when we’re talking about the workplace. If you are managing a team of people, being a “tough” boss can be detrimental to productivity by creating stress, which causes people to underperform. If you work in the health care field, an empathetic approach can improve patient health, compliance, and satistfaction.
#5: Being kind and welcoming toward different types of people makes for a more productive & creative team.
Valuing diversity, as Mr. Nimoy so passionately did, is an incredible asset. By working with people from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences, you are enabling yourself to see things from new perspectives – nurturing creativity and connectedness. Diversity has even demonstrated an overwhelming effect on workplace productivity – driving innovation and business growth.
If you are seeking a way to make a donation in Leonard Nimoy’s memory, his family has asked that donations be made to the Everychild Foundation, the COPD Foundation, Beit T’Shuvah, and the Bay-Nimoy Early Childhood Center. Remember, science says that you will be happier if you give.