How to Enjoy Serving the World Around You / by Amy DeRosia

CC photo by Tim Marshall

Live fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problems and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect. Just be an excellent example of a human being.
— Tony Robbins

I have a confession to make- if you see me volunteering at an event, it’s probably because I’m getting into something fun for free, meeting cool people, or helping a friend in charge of something. I don’t volunteer or say yes because it’s something I SHOULD do. These are things I enjoy with the added bonus of supporting a thing that matters. Healthy selfishness about how we serve makes us more inclined to do it again.

There is a limiting story in our culture about how we make a difference in the world around us. I admire people who are able to juggle working at a soup kitchen every week, being on 3 non-profit boards, and still getting everything done in their own lives. But I have accepted that I am not built that way.

Generosity is a mindset and a habit without a lot of rules. There are many simple ways we can serve our communities on a daily basis: planting a garden, creating a work of art and sharing it, hosting a party, visiting an elderly neighbor, starting a meetup, cooking a meal for a new mom, or smiling at strangers. We can go to bed every night knowing that we made someone else's day better.

If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your self-transformation.
— Lao Tzu

When we are listening to ourselves and to the needs of those around us, we get to solve interesting problems. We’re also happier and make a bigger impact when we know what we have to offer.

This requires us to practice more curiosity. Here are a few questions to help you clarify opportunities to be of service and create a better life in the process:

·         What do I want/need more of in my life?

·         What skills and talents do I have to offer? How much time?

·         What would I like to learn or improve?

·         What issues or causes matter to me?

·         What is my first step?