As an organisation, driven by our purpose and guided by our values, we have understandably thought deeply about what our values might be.
We begin with compassion.
According to Tanya Singer, “ in contrast to empathy, compassion does not mean sharing the suffering of the other: rather, it is characterised by feelings of warmth, concern and care for the other, as well as a strong motivation to improve the other’s well-being”
This feeling of warmth, concern and care is how we feel about our society.
It’s why we are driven to improve it.
Most people would agree that compassion has to start with empathy, and most people would also agree that it doesn’t stop there either.
Empathy is feeling with another, we identify personally with the way someone else is feeling.
Empathy is hugely powerful and we know from brain imaging that when you’re feeling empathy for someone who is suffering, the parts of your brain that show activity are those active when you are suffering.
In order for us to move beyond empathy, however, into compassion, we have to move towards the other person. Compassion is not a feeling, compassion is action, it’s a movement towards.
So as one of our values, compassion requires us to move deliberately towards improving society.
We might feel the injustice, we might have anger about the prejudice, we might feel frustrated about intolerance or discrimination, and this is okay…because this is empathy.
Though in order to move towards compassion, as we’ve said, we need to take action.
This is why compassion is not just at the heart of our purpose it’s also part of what we do every day.
As part of our commitment to both our purpose and this value, we are setting up a foundation. This foundation will be funded by some of the profits from our business and will work to support the first seven years in life.
We know from the research that if we want healthier adults and a healthier society, with higher levels of social and emotional intelligence, higher quality leadership within government, and higher performing organisations, then we need to enhance the formative years of all children’s lives.
Within this work of the foundation, and the work that we do every day, resides our compassion.