No More War
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
How can a world expect peace when each of us has yet to lay down the weapons inside our own minds and hearts?
It has been over a week since Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine. The war has been met with almost universal condemnation and repulsion, as it should be. In the face of Russian brutality, we have seen the incredible courage and resolve of the Ukrainian people, led and inspired by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has given the world a master class in leadership. In turn, leaders around the world have given Ukraine much-needed assistance to help a vastly undersized army defend itself. Germany announced a complete overhaul of its foreign, security, and defense policy, supplying weapons to Ukraine and pledging billions of dollars in increased defense spending in the coming years. Switzerland, despite its longstanding policy of neutrality, joined in the sweeping economic sanctions imposed against Russia and its ruling class. Business leaders and regular citizens across the world have donated money and supplies to the Ukrainian government and its citizens. One notable example is the thousands of people who have booked Airbnb stays in Ukraine that they don’t intend to use, as a way to get money immediately to Ukrainian families. My firm, The Trium Group, donated to The Solidarity Fund for Ukraine, sponsored by our client UiPath and its foundation. Times like these bring out the best in people. They demand that people across the world take action.
Yet as we rightly decry the barbarity of the Russian invasion, we run the risk of neglecting another war – one that rages inside each of us. As the famous Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn put it, “the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart.” Peace comes not just from defeating our external enemies, but from having the courage to turn inward. As we criticize the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we must at the same time ask ourselves where it is that we are doing the very thing we are criticizing. Where is it that you are waging war within yourself? How often do you allow your inner critic to demean or diminish yourself? Where do you speak unkindly of others? Or withhold love from those closest to you? And where do you unintentionally contribute to the war of ideas that is raging within your own neighborhood and community? How can a world expect peace when each of us has yet to lay down the weapons inside our own minds and hearts?
Zelensky has emerged as a leader for the ages because of his incredible courage. Yet, I believe what makes him special is his heart. It is his love for his country and his family that has endeared him to the world. I believe he is a man at peace with himself. I might even say a man in love with himself. And it is that inner peace, that immense self-regard, that gives him the moral credibility that he is so skillfully using to defend his country. We can all benefit from his extraordinary example.
Not surprisingly, David Brooks nails it in his recent piece, “The Week that Awoke the World.”
I highly recommend Tim Ferris’s recent interview with Boyd Varty, an author and a wildlife and literacy activist who has spent the last ten years refining the art of using the wilderness as a place for deep introspection and personal transformation.
A passage that I have been pondering this week: “Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything that was. It not only divides states and churches, it divides families; aye, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.” Henry David Thoreau