U Thant was secretary general of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971. “He was a great and spiritual man. Dag Hammarskjold had just been killed. There was a possibility of nuclear conflagration over a surrogate war being fought in the Congo, in which the West and the East were actually at war. U Thant was locked in a last-ditch meeting to avert disaster when he was handed a piece of paper, which he read, and he stayed in that meeting until the parties had reached a truce. Someone then asked him what was on that slip of paper. He said, ‘My son was just killed in a car accident.’
“The newspapers wrote about a cold-hearted Buddhist. But in that act was someone whose love of humanity allowed him to transcend his own narrow definition of family and to expand it into a greater definition. U Thant’s act was an act of a great, loving human being. That is equanimity, and it will probably see you through tougher times than passion or balance will.
“If you live a rich life of the spirit, you are not distracted,” says Larry Brilliant. “You carry out your duty, your dharma, no matter what.”
Source: Dr. Brilliant Vs. the Devil of Ambition | Harriet Rubin | Fast Company