Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton–Profile of Passion

Many Canadians and fans of politics were deeply saddened today by the passing of Jack Layton, Leader of the Opposition, at the young age of 61.  I am one of them.

While I wasn’t a big fan of the NDP platform and I didn’t admire everything that Mr. Layton held dear to his heart in terms of policy and political beliefs, there was one thing that I have always respected him for, going back to when he served on the Toronto city council.

I have always respected Mr. Layton for his passion, drive and belief that we can create a better world.

We live in a world that seems to have more complexity then ever, despite the fact that we have access to more knowledge and easier, faster ways of sharing this knowledge than ever, things which should contribute to solving the world’s challenges.

However, I often wonder if our processes around strategy and tactics, problem solving, knowledge sharing and such are not as effective as they should be because we don’t have enough passion to create the will that would enable us to solve these issues.

Mr. Layton had an abundance of passion and it was infectious to those who served with him.

His passion drove him to make a difference in his community, in his province, in his country and in the world.  His belief in creating a better world was best exemplified in this quote by Tommy Douglas that he often signed his emails with:

“Courage my friends, ‘tis never too late to build a better world.”

And while we may not agree with some or all of his beliefs, I believe that if each one of us had the same level of passion that he did for the things that we thought were important in the world, the world would be a better place.

And this, above all, may be the legacy that Mr. Layton leaves behind – in a world filled with apathy and indifference, that passion to make a difference is essential to actually making a difference.

A difference that the world needs.

He was the perfect embodiment of the following quote by Howard Thurman, author and educator:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Mr. Layton followed his heart to make a difference and to inspire others to do so as well.

Are we doing the same?

In service and servanthood,


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