Just down the road, in the middle of Canberra something special happened on Sunday. Because January 25, on the eve of Australia Day, we stopped as a nation once again to recognise those people who are contributing something significant to the country. Our Australians of the Year. And while there were many deserving nominees, I know there are many more who are working quietly and tirelessly for the good of others. Just so incredibly inspiring.
And as I hear the stories of Rosie Batty, Juliette Wright, Drisana Levitzke-Gray and Jackie French, it occurred to me once again how many extraordinary ideas come from ordinary everyday people. People just like you and me. People who see an opportunity to make a difference. And do it. To give what they can however small. Even out of their own grief and pain or challenge.
The benefits in giving are there for both the giver and receiver. The joy and satisfaction in knowing that you’ve made a difference. That you’ve helped changed someone’s life for the better. Most people don’t stop to think about the fact that you can actually see the brain register this chemistry of joy and all the good feelings that flow from it. These are life-giving benefits. It’s no wonder that studies show people with meaning and purpose live longer.
Australia Day is our day to remember just how fortunate we are. We are still the lucky country. And as one proud Australian so beautifully said, we all have a gift and if we each focus on utilising that gift for the benefit of others how much more extraordinary will our country – and our world – be.
What is your gift?
Where can you make a difference?