Lose Yourself in the Service of Others
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi
Let’s say that’s true. Let’s say that losing ourselves in the service of others is the best way to get free from the confines of vanity, self-criticism and doubt. Have you ever noticed a feeling of liberation when you take your attention off your own problems and contribute to another? I know I have. It’s a win-win.
I once heard this quote about working out: “The best exercise is the one you’re doing.” The essence of this is not to overthink when it comes to exercise. Just keep doing the exercise you like and that way, you win!
I tend to view acts of service similarly, as there are many choices we have. If you like donating your time to a cause, keep it up. If you think writing a check to your favorite charity is the thing to do, do it. Maybe you’re fulfilled helping little old ladies cross the street? Awesome! Do that which satisfies you the most.
Service can be a selfish thing!
The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it. – Mother Teresa
Can we still be of service without having to perform heroic acts? Yes.
We can be Heroes, forever and ever. What d’you say? – David Bowie
At Momentum Consulting, we consider ourselves both consultants and students of high performance. We are right there with you in this endeavor, one moment at a time. And if you’re around any of us long enough you’ll hear us talk about the power of listening. This is not just hearing things with our ears. This is how we receive and process information. And when done generously, it can even be a way to honor the one(s) speaking.
Listening involves our core values, our biases, our internal dialogue, and our belief systems. Just like you, our default listening is typically “self -oriented” listening. When we are listening from self, we are surviving the day and protecting our selves from real and perceived threats.
There’s another form of listening as well. We call it “other-oriented listening.” When we are listening in the space of “other”, we are giving up our concerns (what a relief!), our judgments (hallelujah!), and any notion of threats (hurray!).
This kind of listening is an act of service.
There’s nothing wrong with listening from self. We do it all the time, usually automatically. It’s often that natural instinct that tells us to jump out of the street when we hear a bus rapidly approaching. It preserves life.
Listening from other is different and brings us a new life entirely. The world of other allows us to melt into another’s perspective and contribute to it. We don’t even have to give up our own point-of-view, as it’s always by our side should we need it. But in listening from other we get the privilege of sampling the other person’s filters when information comes in. This gives us an expanded point-of-view beyond our own.
This is a service all on its own, and we all benefit.
With whom in your life would generous listening be an act of service?
How would you both benefit?
We want to hear your stories of service.
Do yourself a favor and do someone else a favor.
Fundamental of the Week #8: SERVICE IS 360 We serve each other, our customers, and ourselves when we serve the community. Demonstrate making a difference.