Guest Speaker – Victor Chan: Leadership and Compassion

By: Dylan Book

guest speaker

Token of appreciation presented to our guest speaker Victor Chan after his presentation about compassion and leadership.
From left to right: Dylan Book, Victor Chan, Sophia Yip, John Chow

On Sunday, April 28, the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group had the honour of hosting Victor Chan at our monthly group meeting.  We asked Mr. Chan to come talk to us about his and the Dalai Lama’s philosophy on leadership and compassion.  Scouts Canada is a leadership program and we are always looking for better ways to lead and relate to the people we work with.

Mr. Chan has had a close relationship with the Dalai Lama for the past 40 years and is the founding director of the Vancouver based Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education.  He has also co-authored two books with the Dalai Lama, The Wisdom of Forgiveness and The Wisdom of Compassion. The Dalai Lama feels that western society places too much emphasis on educating the mind and not enough on “educating the heart.”  This is the main theme of Mr. Chan and the Dalai Lama’s most recent book, The Wisdom of Compassion, and the Dalai Lama Center was founded to focus on “educating the heart.”

Mr. Chan began by discussing his travels in Nepal, and the health benefits of meditation that scientists have found by studying the Dalai Lama.  Meditation helps lower your heart rate which makes you calmer and less prone to heart attacks.  Much of Mr. Chan’s travels in Nepal were by foot or bicycle, he found that if focused on the motions his body was doing in a meditative sense, he would expend less energy and be better able to hike long distances at high elevations.

The main focus of his talk was the Dalai Lama’s approach to leadership.  This is based on the importance of compassion and an accurate interpretation of reality.  Practicing compassion detaches us from a natural focus on ourselves.  When we are compassionate we focus on others and this helps us see problems from a different perspective, a more accurate perspective.  Our “me” focused thoughts can distort our visions, so when we can avoid the “me” perspective we see situations more clearly and are better able to work within a team.

Discussions about leadership and compassion go to the core of what both the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group and Scouts Canada are about.  Our mission states that “we are a team dedicated to the success of Scouts Canada by realizing individual potential through leadership and management development.” Listening to the wisdom of those outside of Scouts Canada will help us become better leaders in Scouts Canada and we thank Mr. Chan for helping us in this mission.


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