“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill
I received an email recently from a member of our online community who felt that the forum was a place where she could learn from others without ever contributing anything in return.
This reminds me of two friends that I knew years ago. They were very different but alike in one way. As young adults, they were self-absorbed, feeling that the world revolved around them. Any decisions that the larger group of friends made had to be all about them.
Of course, each of us is a part of a small world that revolves around us. But most see the bigger world out there. The world where, by stepping out and participating, there are rewards that we never imagined were possible.
But for these two young women, they couldn’t see how their attitude affected others, or perhaps they didn’t care. They were only interested in what they wanted, what they thought was best for them and if anyone got in their way, it was just too bad. They just wouldn’t participate. They stayed home many times while the rest of us had fun or expanded the horizons of the small sheltered world we had grown up in.
It’s all a matter of cause and effect.
By only focusing on themselves and what would benefit them, they were losing out on an opportunity to make a difference. While we went to the local County Hospital to visit the residents, these two ladies stayed home. They didn’t want to see all those old people. As a result, they lost the opportunity to hear one beautiful senior tell us stories of a childhood that we never knew existed. They lost the chance to hear an 80-year-old man sing to us in his still melodic voice. They missed learning that many of the best internal reward come from external service to others
When we feed only on ourselves, excluding the balance of unselfish motivations and interests, we become malnourished and fail to thrive as a complete person. And we fail to receive the rewards and opportunities that are out there beyond our little personal world.
Back to these two members of the group of friends.
One of them outgrew this self-love and realized that by not participating in the rest of the world, they were actually making their space in the world much smaller, less important and less fun.
I lost track of the other one until recently when I discovered her on Facebook. When I contacted her, I discovered that she was one of the unhappiest people I had ever known. Divorced, estranged from her children, she was sure that the whole world was out to make her miserable.
She still hadn’t discovered that to experience life to its fullest, you need to serve a purpose larger than yourself.
How does this apply to us as small business owners? There is much to be learned by sharing what we already know. It’s just an expansion of the golden rule and can make a tremendous difference in the kind of business owner we are and how our business can prosper and grow. I’ve seen this so many times on our community forums. And, on a more personal note, I’ve discovered through the years that the more I give, the more I receive. How about you?
“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” – William Penn