Living for Others

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mohandas Gandhi

We are far too easily fooled.

You see, many will try to define success, greatness, and happiness in terms of winning out over others, having power over others, and having the ability to dominate others. The lust for power is common and widespread in humans – the power to order others around, the power to make decisions that will impact others, and the power to own when others cannot.

Many see the world in the form of a pyramid with the ones on the bottom serving those on the top. And people long for that top spot because the world promises joy to those who sit there. Success, greatness, and happiness is found there… in winning out over others.

But what if that thinking is all wrong? What if true happiness is not found in lording authority over others – but instead, is found in living our lives for others? What if choosing to serve others was actually the pathway to true success and lastness greatness?

What if, by living for others…

  • we become more fulfilled, more complete?
  • we find true happiness?
  • we find the meaning of life?
  • we become bigger than ourselves?
  • we sleep better at night?
  • we give back to those who served us?
  • we make (and leave) the world a better place?
  • we find less stress and less frustration?
  • we find greater relationships?
  • we experience real love?
  • we receive far more than we give?
  • we find a pursuit greater than the material things around us?

If that were the case, it would certainly change everything… wouldn’t it?

Or would we still be too easily fooled?

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    I think these are awesome words, Joshua. So many, especially Americans, spend their lives trying to collect the most toys, the biggest bank accounts, while people all around them are hurting. Hubby and I are working on a plan to be liberated from the 9 to 5 rut, but not so we can retire and travel in luxury, but so we can spend our days and efforts helping others. Not sure what that is going to look like yet, but I know the plan will be revealed in full, in time.
    Thank you!
    Choosing the important stuff

  2. says

    Great post Joshua. I was once told that when A helps B, A feels better. I carry that simple equation with me, and can say, from experience, that it is true.

  3. says

    What a fantastic post! I can’t help but think about how this same principle is a red line throughout the Bible. (Jesus coming to serve, the first shall be the last, the greatest is he who serves, etc.)

    By having our thoughts and efforts pointed towards ourselves, we really won’t get any fulfillment in life. It’s giving to/about others that counts. Thanks for reminding us! :)

    Best wishes from the Netherlands.

  4. Bob Casper says

    I think that living for others (to help them) and living for others (to control them) is walking down different sides of the same path. Just live! And let others do the same for themselves.

  5. says

    Yesterday, I was on a long road trip and listened to the audio version of “Tuesdays with Morrie.” It is a touching memoir, but one of the bits of wisdom that Morrie taught the author was not to rely on the culture or society to inform his beliefs and behaviors, but to be courageous to create his own “sub-culture” in the manner in which he desired. In morrie’s case, this meant serving his students and surrounding himself with those he loved and the books and music he loved.

    Sometimes our culture “tells” us what we should do/value. It’s up to each of us (IMHO) to look within and determine what we value, then create the culture in which we want to live.

    Great thought-provoking ideas!

  6. says

    This is so true. I wonder why it’s so hard to maintain that mindset at times? I know I’ve been guilty of losing focus at different times throughout my life. The material world can be so alluring at times, that it’s easy to forget.

    Thanks for the great reminder of what truly matters.

  7. says

    Great post.. I’ve found that the more you live with your “heart on your sleeve”, living inside out, the more you do receive within. I try to become this everyday. A thoughtful quote:
    “What you give, you keep. What you hold on to, you eventually lose.”
    Thanks for the great post, have a wonderful day

  8. says

    An Eastern quote I love, along the lines of what Nikki said: “He who obtains has little, he who scatters has much.”

    I also love St. Francis’ prayer, “For it is in giving that we receive,” words which, although attributed to him, seem to have arisen a mere 100 years ago.

    I like how you break this down, Joshua. Much more doable that way.
    Baby steps.

  9. Laura m. says

    We are retired. People can do things in their community through the year. Donate to charities, food banks, group homes, visit shut ins, work with kids, volunteer, etc. There are so many people, incl retirees living to get more “stuff” and status in the community which to me is shallow.

  10. Shaban Mansoordehghan says

    You really can say that again. Keeping things to a minimum sets us free to catch up with ourselves. Thank you for aligining me with my real self.

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