“Not the maker of plans and promises, but rather the one who offers faithful service in small matters. This is the person who is most likely to achieve what is good and lasting.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Many people view life as a pyramid with those on the bottom serving those above them. They envy the people at the top believing joy and happiness is obtained by being served. And thus, they strive. They passionately seek the top of the world’s imaginary pyramid. They reach desperately for the money, fame, or power that would seat them higher in the world’s affections. Unfortunately, they often don‘t realize their pursuits are misplaced until they have already sacrificed countless good gifts and simple joys along the way.
Life is actually more fulfilling down below.
Choosing intentionally to help others flips life upside-down. In helping others rather then seeking our own gain, we find great freedom. Service to others results in liberty. We are able to say no to modern culture‘s games of promotion and authority. We live lives of less stress, less anxiety, and less frustration. We begin to feel more fulfilled, more complete, more alive. Living for others completely abolishes our need for a pecking order. It becomes a great weight off our shoulders when we no longer seek power and mastery over others. Real joy is found not in being served, but in choosing to serve.
And experiencing this unexpected happiness and freedom is not as hard as some might think:
1. Open your eyes to the needs around you. People who need your help exist all around you—in your home, your neighborhood, and your work place. The first, most important step is to simply notice them.
2. Do something to move them forward. Even if you don‘t have all the answers or facts, jump in and help as best you know how. Refuse to use the excuse, “But I don‘t know what to do” or “I can help tomorrow.” Assess their need, offer some help, and follow through right away.
3. Joyfully pay the price. Service to others always costs something—sometimes money, sometimes time, sometimes reputation, and almost always energy. See the price. Pay it anyway. And enjoy the return on investment.
4. Do not expect something in return. Remove the what’s-in-it-for-me question that motivates so many people today. Help with no expectation of repayment. And you will be repaid with joy and fulfillment in countless other ways.
Those who constantly strive for the top have misplaced their pursuits. But we don’t have to. We can rush today to experience the lasting happiness of helping others.
Image: Nicholas T