Instead of asking “what do I want from life?,” a more powerful question is, “what does life want from me?” ~Eckhart Tolle
This quote sounds very similar to the well-known American saying “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” JFK incorporated that into his 1961 Presidential Inaugural Address. Khalil Gibran similarly said, “Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in a desert.”
We can easily see how this applies to soldiers, politicians and government officials. As citizens of a nation, we want our government to be honest, genuine and looking out for a collective good. We want that, even though we’ve come to accept that most politicians are motivated by other circumstances. They aren’t always doing good for the people they represent. We’re angry with the banking system and Wall Street right now because we sense that the leaders of these institutions are asking “what can I get from others?” Rather than, “What gifts do I have that I can give to the world?”
When we see an elected official stand up against resistance and conflict in order to start a revolution for a better world to live in – we get excited. We admire this type of leader because they have made it known to the world that they will sacrifice their own personal desires for the good of all mankind. They are asking “What gifts do I have to share with others?” We stand on the sidelines and watch in amazement as our hero, our mentor and our role model acts on a motivation deeper than a surface ego desire.
Imagine now, if you will, what your life would be like if you were able to make the world a better place. You might not think that you have great gifts to offer, or maybe you think the resources are not available to you. You can still make a difference. No matter what your circumstance or environment is like. You can send an encouraging note to a friend. Smile at the check out person at the grocery store. Help the elderly across the street. Plant a garden. Volunteer at a shelter. Mentor troubled teens. Do things that help bring happiness to other people’s lives. Watch how doing these things brings you a level of joy that couldn’t have come from “what can I get?”. Start asking “what can I give of myself?” and see what happens. Watch the ripple effect it will have on the world around you.
I would love to hear your stories – and so would the other readers of this blog. If you have something to share along the lines of this blog post, please feel free to give your wisdom to us here or over on the Facebook fanpage.