Service Above Self
As we consider New Year’s resolutions, many of us ask, “what is my purpose?” As an active Rotarian, what resonates with me on the deepest level is Rotary’s motto: The Four Way Test. This is the idea of “Service above Self.”
I think about this a great deal and review these four questions in my head. Each new year many of us also ask ourselves, “what will maximize my happiness?” How can I be the most effective in my relationships, work, physical pursuits, and a good steward and contributor to my community?
Let’s start with happiness. I learned many years ago and am continuing to learn that true joy doesn’t come from money, possessions, security, relationships, or anything else we can do on our own. Most days, I see the vast majority of those I encounter aiming at increasing their comfort and status, thinking this will bring lasting joy. For those of us who have gone through great loss, struggle, and unexpected transitions we realize how quickly these comforts evaporate. What we thought was lasting happiness is just a fleeting illusion.
For me, the pursuit of lasting joy and meaning consumes me. Thankfully I find that year after year I am getting closer to it. I grow in my capacities and my ability to understand, express, and experience true joy. I have learned that what is truly meaningful - to be strong, resilient, and resource plenty - is to be useful and of value to my community. I’ve found that if we persevere through these experiences, we gain strength to serve others. There is an underlying current of joy.
I find great contentment in ultra-endurance races like the one I passed through this past weekend. The race took over nine hours of running on a muddy course, up and down very steep and rocky hills, with a great deal of rain and the occasional wind gust. Basically, it was a miserable day by most standards, and yet it brings me to life. It’s hard to pass through those miles. It takes great strength of will and determination. I recognize passing through experiences like this makes me stronger.
In the upcoming year as we pursue new projects, take risks and build the team at Lux Virtual, we want to take the time to consider our purpose. Are we pursuing success for our own glory, to increase our comforts or paycheck? We want to pursue growth to be of more use to those around us. In serving those around us, we will experience an appreciation of life and true joy that is otherwise not attainable.
The memorable moments in life are the ones where we overcome, where there is a chance of failure. Building up skills, resources, or creature comforts is a goal, but it should not be our end goal. The primary benefit I see in having resources is to be able to share them, help others, and invite others alongside you. The stronger and better prepared each of us is, the greater impact and community we can positively affect.