family, Uncategorized, Values

What if Everyone Was a Billionaire?

If you were to interact with a billionaire, do you think you would treat them in a special way? It seems like society conditions us to treat wealthy people better than the average person – especially if that wealthy person can do something for us, like patronize our business.

If you think you would treat a billionaire better than the average person then here is an interesting mental exercise for you: For a whole day, treat everyone like they are a billionaire.

This could be a highly enlightening experience. Perhaps you will find yourself giving everyone more of your time and attention. Maybe you will suddenly find everyone a whole lot more interesting. Maybe everyone’s problems will seem more important. Who knows!

Really though, when it comes right down to it, there is no difference between billionaires and everyone else. Well, except that we love and care about the regular people in our lives and we probably don’t even know any billionaires. And the people we see everyday probably care about us. So, what are we saving it for? Why don’t we treat the people we know and care about as well as we would treat billionaires?

The people we love most and who love us are truly priceless. So we should treat them the best of anyone. In the grand scheme of things, they’re better for our overall well-being than any billionaire will probably ever be.

Try the exercise, see if it changes the way you treat others, and then report back! I’d love to read your comments.

With love,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

Love

Love Adds Meaning to Life

People sometimes ask me what is the meaning of life. I’ve pondered this question for much of my life and more and more I feel like the answer has to do with love. I think it goes something like this: We exist to love others and to be loved in return, and it is this love which gives life meaning.

Fred Rogers once said, “It all comes down to love. Love or the lack of it.” Isn’t that the truth? Think of all the times that your life was shaped by love or the lack of it.

So, love. All kinds of love. Romantic love, familial love, the love that exists between good friends, the love we extend to strangers… all this love. It gives life meaning. Certainly if it is not the meaning of life then it at least certainly adds meaning to life. It begs the question… why aren’t we better at it? Why don’t we spend more time teaching it?

There are five key ingredients to loving people and loving them well. They are kindness, respect, empathy, compassion, and acceptance. That last one is the hardest, but it also helps to generate unconditional love, which is the greatest love we can give.

Think for a moment about about kindness. This is the low bar of love. Being kind when your aim is to be loving is the very least you can do. Somehow, however, we can sometimes manage to be the least kind to the people we love the most. We use up all our kindness out in the world and then by the time we get home our kindness tanks are on empty. We need to be sure to save some kindness for those who matter most to us.

Respect is a true test of love. You’ve got to give people respect if you love them. This simple fact is sometimes lost on people, but the fact is that a lack of respect can result in some of the greatest injuries in life. This is a big one we need to teach our children – if you want to be loving towards someone be sure to be respectful towards them (even siblings!). A lack of respect always feels like the opposite of love, and respect is always well received.

Empathy is the human trait that is all too often undervalued. Feeling like those who love us truly “get” us is a magical feeling. Empathy is the key that unlocks connection. When we empathize with others it allows us to form deeper and stronger connections that can last a lifetime. Believe it of not, empathy is especially important with young children. We need to remember that we were little once and the world was once big, scary, and often overwhelming. With little ones we need to slow down, be patient, and do our best to empathize with their big feelings.

And this brings us to acceptance. To accept others exactly as they are is powerful and often can even be healing. Every person – universally – does better when they experience acceptance, especially from their immediate family. Love that includes accepting people as they are is the definition of unconstitutional love. This is the greatest kind of love and the love that many people long for. Everyone needs love and acceptance.

So there you have it. Love adds meaning to life. And the better we love people the better off they are. Do your best to love those in your life with kindness, respect, empathy, compassion, and acceptance, and you will be loving them in the best way possible.

With love,

Matthew Vasko,

Founder, Century of Compassion

compassion, connection, Core Four, empathy, kindness, Love, Obliterate Hate, respect, Uncategorized, Values, Well-Being

We All Share A Common Humanity

Stop. Take a breath. Forget about everything you’ve been indoctrinated into over the course of your life. Zoom out on planet Earth. As you look you will see a simple truth: We are all one humanity. There is one human species on this planet and we are all part of it. There is no “us” and “them.” There is just us. All of us. One human race.

This is the simple fact of the matter. When it comes right down to it, we are all more alike than we are different. We all want similar things: love, safety, security, food, water, shelter. We all want to be free to achieve our best version of ourselves and to live our best lives.

With these simple truths in mind we need to learn to live together. We need to learn to get along with one another. We need to learn to respect one another and honor the things in one another that make us different. This is the challenge of our times. This is the path to greater peace and prosperity. This is how we change our shared world for the better.

Don’t buy into the nonsense. Don’t believe those who wish to divide us. They are unwell. They are poisoned by the toxic tribalism that has kept us separated for millennia. We need to grow up as a species and learn to overcome petty differences. Because in the end, we are all capable of getting along with one another and even loving one another.

Love. That’s really what it’s all about. We live to love and be loved. The problem is that not all of us have learned how to love properly. True love does not seek to control. Real love does not do harm. In order to love properly, love must contain four basic elements: kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion. I call these the Core Four.

With the Core Four in place we can learn to love and love well. We can lay a foundation that allows for trust to grow and flourish. We can help each other enrich our wellbeing. The Core Four works on an individual level, on a community level, a national level, and an international level.

We need everyone to embrace and act upon the Core Four. If each individual would learn to treat one another with the Core Four values of kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion we could overcome much of what ails the world. What we need is a Global Covenant to commit ourselves to the Core Four as individuals, communities, societies, and globally.

Such a commitment would be no small feat to be sure, but it’s worth striving for. With the help of the Core Four we could all look forward to an ever brighter future with greater wellness and peace for everyone.

Isn’t life hard enough? Doesn’t nature dish out enough hardship without us making life harder for one another? First, do no harm. Then, love and love well. Love with the principles of kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion always in your heart and mind.

A brighter future is possible.

We each really and truly can make a difference in the world.

Let’s all strive to be the best that we can be and to love one another with the added benefit of the Core Four to guide us.

After all, we all share a common humanity.

Wishing you the very best,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion.

caring, connection

What Mass Shooters Forget

Over the weekend we had another mass shooting. This time in Buffalo New York at a grocery store in a mostly Black neighborhood. The shooter was a racially motivated young white man in body armor. It was tragic. It was senseless. And I’m going to argue that it was preventable, but not in the way you might think.

See, here’s my perspective: Each day I see people in the media working to divide us and divide us and divide us. But you know what? We’re all just one big human family and no differences that divide us even matter one little bit. In the end we all want the same things: food, shelter, and to love and to be loved.

I’m sure that shooter in Buffalo was hurting. I’m sure things had transpired that had made him feel horrible about himself and his life. I’m sure that somewhere along the way he forgot the same thing that all of these mass killers forget. It is this: We are put on this earth to love and care for one another.

Think of all the things that shooter (who I won’t name) was missing out on. Think of how far wrong his life had gone. He’d become so warped that he had forgotten that he should have been spending his Saturday helping people in his own community instead of driving for hours to hurt people in another community. He’d forgotten his responsibility to others. He had forgotten our common humanity.

We are all human beings. We all share a common humanity. We need to stop letting our little differences separate us. There is no “us” and “them,” there is just us. We all are all we have. This is a true fact whether or not you believe in a higher power. We can pray to our higher power or powers and still it is us as individuals who need to act to care for one another and be there for one another.

Mass shooters have it all wrong. They are mentally ill based upon the very fact that they no longer see the humanity in other human beings. Anyone who sees people as anything less than beings to be loved and cared for is living in a very dark place in their mind indeed. They need help. They need help remembering that we all have inherent worth and dignity. They need help to love again. They need help to return to their proper senses.

Yes, mass killings of any scale are highly preventable. They will stop when we all learn to put our petty differences aside and love one another. They will stop when traditional and social media learn to work to help people see our common humanity and how wonderful the world can be when we all work together.

You can make a difference and that difference starts in your own heart. Do your best to love everyone. Do your best to see the similarities in someone who might at first seem very different than you. Do your best to go out into the world and make a positive difference in the world.

Much love to you,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion

Acceptance, compassion, connection, empathy, kindness, Love, respect

The Core Four Will Change Your Life

What if I told you that you could have a happier life filled with lots of positive interactions and great relationships with all kinds of different people? What if I told you that all you need to do to have all this is keep four simple principles in mind as you go about your day? Would you be willing to give it a try?

The secret to having great relationships and building lasting friendships is these four principles: kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion. But the trick is to keep them in mind as you interact with all people, all the time.

Start with kindness. Let’s be honest, the world needs more kindness. Even a little kindness will go a long way with people. A lot of kindness will go even further. Kindness is wonderful for breaking the ice and getting to know people. It helps sustain long-term relationships.

Respect is next, because if you aren’t respectful towards people then most people won’t want to be around you. When you are respectful towards others they are far more likely to be respectful towards you in return. The best relationships are built on mutual respect. This respect compounds and builds over time.

Empathy is the key to unlocking connection. Typically, the people we are able to empathize with the best are the ones we feel naturally drawn to. The trick is to learn to find ways to empathize with everyone. After all, we are all human and by that nature tend to have lots of things in common – even with people who are very different than us. Always be looking for ways to empathize with people and you will be able to make great connections with all kinds of people all the time.

The last piece of the puzzle is compassion. When we have compassion for the suffering of others it brings out our hidden humanity. Everyone suffers. And everyone wants to know that their suffering is valid and worthy of compassion. When you have compassion for others they will come to love you.

Love. That’s what it’s all about. When we are kind, respectful, empathetic, and compassionate towards others we are in a place where love can flourish. Whether we know it or not, real friendships and real loving relationship are filled with kindness, respect, empathy and compassion… they are constantly swirling and engaging. In time, with luck, we can even come to accept one another. And loving people and accepting them exactly as they are, are the finest gifts that we can give.

Be well,

Matthew Vasko

Founder, Century of Compassion