Selfless: the word itself is in danger of falling out of the dictionary it is so seldom used and so out of line with the individualistic, materialistic characteristics of modern day society in general.” What’s in it for me?, Why should I” would be the most common reactions.
Yet this attitude of self-centredness makes our world so small, so confined. We envy others, feel hard done by and urge ourselves to do more and faster in order for our ego to be satisfied and for us to move to the top of the pack.
Robin Sharma says: ” No matter what you have achieved and how many things you own, the quality of your life will come down to the quality of your contribution (…) When you work to improve the lives of others you indirecly elevate your own life in the process”. (so not entirely selfless!)
He goes on to explain what a paradigm is. Knowing that we each perceive the world in a different way, a paradigm is the view we have. A bit like a lense, an optimist will see the world rosy or the glass half full, a pessimist will see it gloomy and only notice what is missing. Here he means that in order to be happy, we need to review why we are here on Earth to put things into perspective. As he so rightly states” Just as you entered the world with nothing, you are destined to leave with nothing.” The reason we are here is to contribute to the world in as large or as small a way, but to fulfil our individual purpose.
This echos again that amazing little book from Viktor Frankl: ” Man’s search for meaning” and Frankl’s conviction than man’s central motivator is to live a life of purpose. In order to do that we need to detect our destiny, our personal purpose.The amazing thing being we are always provided with the skill set needed to fulfill that destiny, whatever it may be.
Sharma:” The sages of the East call it the process of shedding the shackles of self.” Stopping seeing ourselves as an individual, but part of the collective.And our aim, to contribute in a positive way to the collective.
It doesnt have to be huge things:yes we can volunteer time, we can donate money but we can also make sure that every day we make at least one random act of kindness:helping a stranger, saying a nice word to the cashier, praising someone, offering a flower, bringing a cup of coffee, making someone laugh.
Living is giving and this mindset brings with it so much more peace and satisfaction than something material whose attraction disappears as soon as we get it.