Publish date: 19 April 2022
Jemma Barnard, Associate Lawyer

It’s no secret that we are big Adam Grant fans in the Travis Schultz & Partners office here in Mooloolaba.

If you haven’t heard of Adam, he is an organisational psychologist who is an expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, rethink assumptions, and live more generous and creative lives. The primary focus of his chart-topping TED original podcast ‘WorkLife’ is discovering the keys to a better and more successful work life.

I read and listen to almost everything that Adam does, but what has caught my eye recently was Adam’s sharing of the findings of the 2022 World Happiness Report.

In review of what has been another challenging year for the world, the World Happiness Report, which uses global survey data to report on how people evaluate their own lives in more than 150 countries around the world, analysed the biological basis for happiness within societies.  Attempts were made to measure the impact of the pandemic on happiness and wellbeing across the vast majority of the world’s population, including the rich and poor, healthy and sick, employed and unemployed, and people living in very supportive or very divided communities and countries.

What emerged from the report was that, quite unsurprisingly, the pandemic has dramatically altered how people live and how they think about life. Despite enormous infection rates and unprecedented restrictions on economic and social life worldwide however, the picture that emerges from the report, is one of extraordinary resilience and compassion.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the report was the revolution that during 2021, the global rates of helping strangers, volunteering and giving to charity grew to be almost 25% above pre-pandemic levels.

This surge of benevolence, which was especially great for the helping of strangers, provides powerful evidence that people respond to help others in need, creating in the process more happiness for the beneficiaries, good examples for others to follow, and better lives for themselves.

Professor John F. Helliwell of the University of British Columbia

Whilst that might be initially surprising amongst relatively fresh memories of bare supermarket shelves and toilet paper shortages, on reflection, I can’t say that I am really surprised at all. In just the past few weeks alone, I have certainly witnessed extraordinary community benevolence here on the Sunshine Coast.

Last month, the Sunshine Coast’s legal fraternity gathered to raise funds for the Suncoast Community Legal Service (SCLS). During the evening, a record $30,000 was raised for the SCLS supporting the tremendous advocacy and legal advice they provide to the wider community.

In March, a small team from Travis Schultz & Partners volunteered for a shift to man the phones as part of Wishlist’s Giving Day. In the space of 12 hours, an enormous $227,000 was donated by the local community for Wishlist which will assist them fund life-saving medical equipment, support services and accommodation for patients of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.

Over the past few weeks, Sunshine Coasters have donated money, time, skills, groceries, clothing and medical supplies to the thousands of people impacted by the recent flooding. Sausage sizzles were held for people stranded on the Bruce Highway and details of collection points for donations were shared far and wide on social media. Stories of local heroes dominated the local media landscape and uplifted us all in spite of the devastation.

Having a strong community conscience is something that makes me so proud to work for Travis Schultz & Partners. Many of our team members are involved in volunteering and various community initiatives and charities.

For us, lending a hand and giving back certainly does wonders for our team culture. Enormous satisfaction is had across our entire team when we can all share in the success of the worthwhile causes we support.

All must hope that the pandemic of benevolence will live far beyond COVID-19. If sustainable, this outpouring of kindness provides grounds for hope and optimism in a world needing more of both.[1]

Although the effects of the pandemic are far from over, the World Happiness Report 2022 reveals a bright light in the darkest of times. As Adam points out, the untold story of 2021 is that the dominant response to suffering is not selfishness – it’s compassion. 

[1] World Happiness Report, Chapter 2, Happiness, benevolence, and trust during COVID-19 and beyond.

As published in Mondaq.

Jemma Barnard
Jemma Barnard
Senior Associate
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