Door Number Twelve: Helping Others

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” ~Booker T. Washington

As we continue our ongoing quest to satisfaction it is important to remember it’s not just about us. What this means in context of pursuing our personal doors to happiness is that we should always dedicate a part of our time to volunteering for causes and activities that benefit other people. This can mean  cleaning up your local park or spending time mentoring at-risk kids. There are almost an endless number of organizations who are looking for help in furthering their goals of making the world a better place. Many of which can be found here. You might be asking yourself how helping others will improve the quality of your life. Well, as usual, there are a number of reasons.

When we volunteer and focus on bettering other people’s lives, our problems lose some of their prominence. Do you think Aragorn ever would have got over his personal demons and fulfilled his destiny to unite the Race of Man under the flag of Gondor if the quest to help Frodo destroy the one ring hadn’t distracted him from the personal doubts and elf-related romantic troubles. While possibly an extreme example, the simple fact remains: by focusing on the plights of others the obstacles standing in our path lose prevalence to the more pressing concerns of our new-found mission. This increased sense of positive progress increases our ability to take the needed steps to accomplish personal goals otherwise thought impossible. And if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll even land that elf prince or princess of our dreams.

The act of improving the lives of others gives us a greater sense of self, which in turn improves our self-esteem. When one commits a selfless act something happens. All of sudden a realization dawns on the individual that they can positively impact the lives of others. Realizing we can improve the station of others is an empowering feeling. Take the simple act of donating money to your local school’s sports team in order to help them afford a trip to a playoff tournament. Knowing that your small contribution could make the difference between a student athlete participating in an event with the potential to set them on a path of personal success otherwise unobtainable should make anyone feel pretty good about themselves. This can be expanded to any volunteer experience. A winning proposition for all parties involved.

Serving others improves our communities. Probably the most straight forward benefits of helping one another, is also the most compelling. No matter who we are, or where we live we are all part of a community. Luke Skywalker had the Rebel Alliance, Batman had Gotham City. What they understood, and what we can learn from, is that our standard of living is directly tied to well-being of those around us. If we focus solely on ourselves, and don’t work to make the world better for everyone around us we are doomed to living in a world not as great as it could be. We owe it to ourselves to be the personal heroes we are capable of being.

On the pathway to a complete life it easy to forget about the importance of serving others. However, once we realize this type of volunteerism enables us to take the focus of our problems, increases our self-esteem, and make the world a better place it becomes clear this is a necessary component to finding our fifty doors. Of course we can’t all be Mother Theresa. Life is busy, and finding times to selflessly spend time on behalf of others is not always easy. However, by realizing this is a priority that will enable us to find many of the other doors we are looking for it will be far easier to find the time to embark on such a worthy endeavor.

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