“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“What are you doing for others?” Ask yourself this question a few times, and then think about the last time you lent a hand to someone … was it yesterday? Last week? Last year? Whether or not you remember the last time you helped someone, you have today to make moves.
Ring. Ring. Wake-up call. A close friend and mentor of mine called me on Monday to explain why they had been M.I.A. for the past few weeks. Family health scares, loss of a loved one, and fear of the future were all topics mentioned by this good friend. Wake-up call: Things came into perspective for me. Almost 20 minutes prior to our call, I was upset that my evening dinner plans were cancelled. Suddenly, my minor issue seemed like nothing compared to his. The two subtle reminders I took away from this brought me back down to earth:
- Life does not always go as planned; embrace it.
- Someone else’s life circumstance is far worse than your current state in life; appreciate all you have.
A fundamental step toward helping someone is to first help yourself. Selfishness, apathy, and bad habits are risky things to have in life. They prevent you from experiencing the full joy of helping others and improving their situation. Once this step is checked off of your list, you have the freedom to think, go and do for other people. You can break free from laziness, self-pity and greed, opening up an opportunity to care for another individual and relieve them of stress.
One of the most misinterpreted perceptions of serving others is that you need money. This is a matter of opinion. All you really need is a good attitude. People need signs of hope and the overall belief that things will be better for them in the future. Sometimes, it’s as simple as giving someone a smile, waving to them when you’re in the car, or telling a person that they matter. If you have the resources of time and money to volunteer or give to an individual or group, it’s an added bonus. Author and comedian, Sam Levenson once wrote, “People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.” Make your move today.