“We have been trained to think that what goes into astounding, life-changing service is often something extraordinary,” said Dr. Stefan G. Kertesz. “And yet we know from our own experience that precisely the opposite is the case.”
As a Schweitzer Fellow for Life (Lambaréné Fellow, 1992) and ASF board member, Kertesz knows well of what he speaks. Kertesz drew on his experience as a primary care physician who has spent much of his medical career treating homeless people to deliver “We Don’t Need Heroes to Be Helpful,” a recent TEDx talk in Birmingham, AL, in which he made a compelling case for how the average person can be of service to people in distress. “To be helpful we don’t need to be extraordinary,” said Kertesz.
Kertesz offers up five simple principles to help ordinary folk help those in need in his 13-minute talk:
- “We have to endure the discomfort of encountering the things we wish were not so.”
- “Helping people doesn’t always mean pleasing them.”
- “Hearing we are wrong and getting criticized is sometimes a very good thing.”
- “We need to replace our notion of selfless sacrifice.”
- “We need to understand that narcissism isn’t necessarily bad.”
Those are the basics. We highly recommend you check out Kertesz’s presentation to hear him flesh out these concepts, which he does with humor and humility. It’s great inspiration as we gear up to celebrate ASF’s 75th anniversary this year!