The Secret Formula for Living a Great Life

The Secret Formula for Living a Great Life

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I discovered something quite unexpected last week. Something I would have happily traveled 10 times around the world for. I witnessed a masterclass in living from the most remarkable people I have ever met.

The irony is that I hadn’t planned or expected to meet anyone so remarkable. I ended up in Rajasthan, India, not because I had any great plan in being there. Someone I’d met for coffee said I should go, so I went out there with no expectations or questions, but came back with plenty of answers.

As part of my Indian adventure, I spent a day in and around Jaipur with a small group of people on a quest, visiting several remarkable individuals and their organisations. The one that stood out for me was the Founder and Chief Patron of Jaipur Foot: Devendra Raj Mehta.

Jaipur Foot is the world’s largest organisation for disabled people, providing artificial limbs and mobility aids free to amputees and all who need them. So far, it has benefited over 1.3 million lives in more than 26 countries. The vision for Jaipur Foot is to ensure the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of disabled people, to enable them to regain their mobility and dignity and to become self-respecting and productive members of society. In short, restoring the glory of life.

I like that – ‘restoring the glory of life’. And when you spend time there, you see it happen. People arrive day and night from all over the continent, immobile and broken, with little or no money. They leave 24 hours later, able to walk, climb, jump and run! No one is ever turned away. No one is ever charged. Everyone is taken on a patient-centric journey of great care and dignity that puts even the very best Western hospital to shame.

And the great thing is, Mr Mehta does not see the cost of the limb. He sees only the priceless value of its impact – which is what has inspired him to continually innovate, to deliver the very best quality for the least amount of money. And he doesn’t skimp – Jaipur Foot has the very best technology in the world.

The cost for the same provision in the West would be $12,000. The cost to provide a superior limb at Jaipur Foot is $50. That is what is so startling. Just as Steve Job’s refusal to compromise on quality allowed Apple to become the most valuable and innovative company in the world, Mr Mehta’s refusal to compromise on care has created one of the most impactful and innovative organisations in existence.

To spend time at Jaipur Foot is absolutely intoxicating and inspiring. It was a supreme privilege, that had me close to tears and filled with joy and hope at the same time.

Every patient arriving at Jaipur Foot experiences a miracle. You can feel it. It is not a place of sadness, but of great joy. Everyone who works there loves what they do. They get to witness a miracle maybe a hundred times a day, and they can see the huge impact of what they do. It really is one of the most incredible organisations in the world.

And the really great thing is that I got to spend time with Mr Mehta in his office, where he shared his great secret of how to build a remarkable organisation and how he lives such a great life. When we asked him his formula for success, he laughed and came back with a version of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity (E = mc2):

Effort = Money x Compassion Squared + God (for those so inclined)

So there it is. Compassion.

That’s the difference that makes the difference. This is the secret of the man behind the world’s largest organisation for the disabled – who is probably the most fulfilled person I have ever met.

But this formula can be applied to any person, any company, any organisation, or any country in the world. What if we all lived by it? It is so simple and obvious that it explains what’s wrong with most of the world around me.

The greatest example is the compassion that Mr Mehta shows for himself. He allows himself to enjoy what he is doing – to have the time of his life. He is not as driven as a man possessed, as are others who try to make an impact. He is sanguine, relaxed and comfortable in the belief that he’s the one who gets the most out of it all. I love the irony of him seeing himself as the greatest beneficiary!

He is having the time of his life because he lives by what he believes. This is why he has all the funding he needs and all the partnerships he wants. He doesn’t even have to work at it – people seek him out, just wanting to share that magic. He focusses on compassion as the key to the great joy that fills him and all those who come into contact with him.

Mr Mehta is changing the world. He is high on life while he does it. His unwavering, uncompromising and unapologetic commitment to compassion is the secret. That’s something we can all learn from. Compassion is where our focus should lie.

Changing the world is much easier if you have a great time while you’re at it. Building your life from a place of great joy and compassion is how to really fuel all your needs as a human being – and how to make life great.

I have been so inspired by that single unplanned interaction last week! It had a profound impact on me, and I hope it influences you in some way, too. I am excited by the chance to raise my own bar and ask myself some great, high impact questions:

  • How can I bring more compassion into everything I do? Even the small things?

  • How can compassion help me to travel through life with more joy and ease?

  • How can I fuel my own joy in order to make a bigger difference in the world?

I would love to hear your stories of compassion and of the positive impact it has had on your life or on others.

I would also love to hear other examples of using this formula to great effect.

Please ‘Speak Your Mind’ in the comments section below.

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  1. Marc,

    Glad you enjoyed Jaipur, “the pink city”, and Devendra Raj Mehta of Jaipur Foot –
    yes, compassion makes everything go further: money, patience (in my case, lack of!), effort, goodwill, energy

    A couple of years after your visit to BNI Elite, I’m still enjoying your blogs – thanks!

  2. Thanks Pat!

  3. Dear Marc,

    I appreciate your story. I know others who have experience with charitable work in India and say the same things about India of the joy and smiling faces and dedication to ‘living’ life they saw in the people and communities there. I agree with your comments about compassion but I have to disagree with you that the +God in Mr Mehta’s equation can be qualified as for those so inclined. I believe that without the whole explanation or equation for Mr Mehta’s success and great life which seems to include +God, you would not have seen or felt what you did and your story would be different. There may not have been the sense of faith, hope, and grace that I believe you experienced with Mr Mehta and his work.

    I enjoy your blog and read you regularly. Thank you.

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