The happiest people I know are those who serve. Who put others before themselves. Who see their mission in life, not as a quest of endless self-aggrandizement, but as a journey of service to those they meet along the way.
There is something different about living life through the lens of service. Those I know who live lives of service have a lightness — a joy — alive within them. It is there even when the service they perform is arduous. The struggle does not extinguish the flame of joy; it feeds it.
Think about your own life. Who are the folks you know who live for others? What are they like in the day-to-day? How do they approach life? What makes them stand out? Contrast them with people you know who are looking out for number one. Who do almost everything for the sake of themselves. Who serve themselves, and even when they help others, do so to confer benefits for themselves.
Yes, those who self-aggrandize do experience more pleasure. They collect more toys. They have shinier cars. But they do not experience as much joy. The treadmill, the ladder — in all these, the reward quickly loses its sweetness if it is sought after for its own end.
Those who serve suffer more. They sacrifice. Often they have little, yet they freely bestow that little upon others. For they have richer treasures that grow, not shrink, upon being shared: their work, their friends, their love. They weigh these gifts and know their worth.
How will you act?
Thanks to Ewa Rabiej and Roman Rabiej for reading drafts of this.