Not surprisingly, everyone thought he was crazy. But it only needed to make sense to him. Despite all his outward success, he was empty and depleted inside. The u-turn he chose to make transformed his life.
Along the way, he paid his gifts forward exponentially to those who helped him along the way. A few examples include buying a rickshaw for a rickshaw driver in Delhi so he would no longer need to rent one, donating $500,000 to an ophthalmology clinic in Vietnam to support ophthalmic surgeries for Vietnamese patients that a physician was doing for free, and putting a homeless man through culinary school so he could realize his dream of becoming a chef. In each case, the recipients turned their lives around and perpetuated the cycle. I liken this to CNN Heroes on steroids.
A few key takeaways stuck with me:
Leon’s definition of kindness: “Helping someone feel less alone.”
Think about your experience with that…
Feel free to try this on:
First, how do you feel when someone is kind to you? (Give yourself enough time to really feel into this question and experience it…)
Next, how do you feel when someone is mean to you? When someone doesn’t see you, when someone makes you feel “less than”…?
I think the most meaningful thing you can do for another human being is to see them. To make them feel like they matter, that they’ve been heard, understood, and loved. And a highly impactful way to do this is to be kind, moment-to-moment. The bonus is that both the giver and receiver are nourished when heart qualities like respect, empathy and compassion are offered.
For me, the challenge is the “moment-to-moment” part, the consistency piece. This means even when you’re cut off or stuck in traffic, even when you’re endlessly waiting in line or put on hold when you call someone, even when nothing and everything is going your way. You choose kindness, no matter what.
Something that helps me live as close to this as I can is to live true to myself and to live intentionally. By that I mean taking off the mask that tells the world “I’m ok”. Consider how things might shift if you share your pain with someone you trust, who makes you feel safe?
Like Thich Nhat Hanh said, “No mud, no lotus.”
Most people see with their eyes. What might the world be like if people saw with their hearts?
For more, Leon shares his journey and remarkable experiences through The Kindness Diaries. May your kindness ripple out bountifully!