How to be a person of service

A woman who contributes to the life of mankind by the occupation of motherhood is taking as high a place in the division of human labor as anyone else could take. If she is interested in the lives of her children and is paving the way for them to become fellow men, if she is spreading their interests and training them to cooperate, her work is so valuable that it can never be rightly rewarded. In our own culture the work of a mother is undervalued and often regarded as a not very attractive or estimable occupation. It is paid only indirectly and a woman who makes it her main occupation is generally placed in a position of economic dependence. The success of the family, however, rests equally upon the work of the mother and the work of the father. Whether the mother keeps house or works independently, her work as a mother does not play a lower role than the work of her husband – Alfred Adler

I’ll be honest with you, I work for money, at least in the case of my day job. I’m proud of what we do, but mainly, I work for money. Shallow? Sure, but let me explain.

Life requires you to have money in order to live “normally”. Most people are born in cities, and they learn to live in the city, not in a ranch being self-sufficient. We learn how to work within the confinements of city life. City life is almost entirely centered on earning money to live and pay for rent, food, and entertainment.

Therefore, the primary necessity for people becomes money.

Now, there’s a ton of advice telling you to first focus on your passions so that you can earn money from them. But, come on, most people do not have time for that. I see it on the streets of Mexico City as I pass by the new buildings being erected. The construction workers have no time to discover their passions. They are too busy getting from one end of the city to the richer parts, to work heavily for 8 hours and then back to their houses on the outskirts, taking the entire day in the process.

It’s laughable to ask them to follow their passions first.

But, right now, this is the way things are. And it’s a bit sad because I do believe that people have much more to offer. When you don’t have problems with money, you have space to be creative. What would’ve been of Michael Angelo if he didn’t had had his patrons? We wouldn’t have today his masterpieces.

People can do really cool stuff with space and time to think.

I want that, you want that, and I’m sure the construction workers want that as well.

So how do you do it?

First of all, accept reality as it is

It’s no use complaining about the situation. Even when things are entirely fucked-up, and for a lot of people, they are.

We are like actors in a play. The divine will has assigned us our roles in life without consulting us. Some of us will act in a short drama, others in a long one. We might be assigned the part of a poor person, a cripple, a distinguished celebrity or public leader, or an ordinary private citizen.

Although we can’t control which roles are assigned to us, it must be our business to act our given role as best as we possibly can and to refrain from complaining about it. Wherever you find yourself and in whatever circumstances, give an impeccable performance.

If you are supposed to be a reader, read; if you are supposed to be a writer, write.

Excerpt from: “The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness” by Epictetus. Scribd.

Regardless of your situation, you’re free to play your part as best as possible. You may hate what you do, you may not, but you’re always free to play as best as possible.

This will cause two things. The first is that you will regain control. That’s the most important part. The second is that you’ll begin to see opportunities.

Gaining control is the most important part because you will be able to feel like the player and not the one getting played. Most people want to forget about their existence in buzz and weekend binges. But when you’re in control, you’re looking for a way out, and you begin to see the things that you can do with your time that will get you out.

There are three types of work you’ll do. The work you do for yourself, to get money, the work you do to get long-term money, such as investing and forming businesses, and finally, the work you do for others.

If you’re lucky, these types of work will be aligned. But that is not always the case. Sometimes you just work for money, and that’s ok because it will give you the opportunity to get enough money to invest in things that will give you money long-term, to finally get space to be creative.

And this is the time when you realize, that what you want to do, is to become of service to your fellow human beings, to offer them your best work, the most personal, the most impactful. When we change people’s lives we feel better. But there’s a process to it, first, you need space to realize what it is that you like, to then become great at it, and then offer it to others.

“A private meaning is in fact no meaning at all. Meaning is only possible in communication: a word which meant something to one person only would really be meaningless. It is the same with our aims and actions; their only meaning is their meaning for others. Every human being strives for significance; but people always make mistakes if they do not see that their whole significance must consist in their contribution to the lives of others.”
― Alfred Adler

2 Comments

  1. So many good things here.
    Today marks 5 years since I decided I needed to get clean and sober.
    That step led to others that have allowed me to be a better person, an actual professional and a mentor to others. Which in turn makes me a better person, etc., etc.
    While I work hard, I’m not laboring like the workers you mentioned, but drugs and alcohol sapped my creativity and joy just as certainly. I’m lucky in that I was able to get out. Not everyone does whether the obstacles are chemical or economic. But one can still try to be one’s best.
    Thanks for another thoughtful writing.

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