It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?
-- Henry David Thoreau

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - September 2016

Live with generosity

What if, one day, you decided to go through the day picking an argument with every person you encountered and trying to compete with everyone around you. You would weave through traffic to be the first car to the stoplight. You would zoom around people on the freeway to get in front of everyone. You would rush to jump in front of people in line at a store. If you spent the day doing things like that, how would you feel at the end of the day? Would all that make you feel good about yourself? Of course not. You’d be filled with stress and tension. You’d have anger built up from all the perceived slights you imagined. In trying to act superior to everyone else, in an attempt to satisfy your ego, you would end up full of negativity.

Now you probably don’t do any of those rude, insensitive things listed above. They are extreme examples offered to prove a point. The point is, living from a perspective of ego drains the life out of you. The more you can get away from such a perspective, the better. Fortunately, there is a much better way to live. Instead of living from a perspective of ego, you can live from a perspective of generosity.

Consider an alternate scenario. What if you decided at the beginning of each day, that for every person you encountered, you were going to do something to make the world a little brighter for that person? You would freely offer a smile to everyone you passed. You would slow down and let people get in front of you when they were trying to exit off the freeway. You would say hello to people, ask them how they are, and listen, really listen, to what they have to say. You would seek out ways to be helpful to people. If you saw somebody who looked like they needed a little help, you would ask them if they could use a hand. Think of how great you would feel after a day of doing those kinds of things.

When you decide, as you start the day, to go out the door with the intention of making a positive difference in the lives of as many people as you encounter, it’s amazing how many opportunities you’ll see. There are so many people who could use a little smile, who would benefit from an encouraging comment, who would dearly appreciate just a little connection with another human being. There are endless opportunities for acting from a perspective of generosity.

Think of a goal you have in your life. Perhaps it’s a career goal, or a financial goal, a lifestyle or relationship goal. Whatever the goal is, if you’ll dig down deep enough, you’ll find that goal is connected to a desired feeling. There’s a certain way you want to feel, and you pursue that feeling by pursuing the goal. You want to feel good about your life. You want to feel good about yourself. You want to feel good about all of existence and your place in it. That’s a big reason why you do the things you do, why you follow your goals and dreams.

The problem is, ego gets in the way. When you follow your dreams from an ego-based perspective, you meet up with resistance every step of the way, from yourself and from others. Ego puts you into a conflict mode because it presents you with a view of the world in which you are separate from everyone else. When you do achieve some measure of success, ego tells you it’s not enough, and doesn’t allow you to fully enjoy what you’ve worked to achieve. Ego tricks you into wasting your precious time doing things you don’t really like in order to get things you don’t really want so you can impress people you don’t respect. Is that any way to live?

There is a much better way, and it is from a perspective of generosity. At the heart of your desires, is the desire to know you’re making a difference. Every person has a desire to make a difference. That desire can be expressed in very negative and destructive ways, or in very positive and enriching ways, or somewhere in between.


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--Ralph Marston