Continuing with the question I presented to you as we began 2016: Who will you be in 2016 and at what level are you going to play, just as I was trying to decided what to write about next, a friend of mine, Jeff Black, sent me a great story I would like to share. The story is about a man who devoted his life to serving those less fortunate – the story made it clear that this man not only didn’t seek recognition, but he actively worked to avoid it. He was a true servant.
Wouldn’t it be great to live by focusing only on serving others without seeking or needing any credit? Lots of people seem to do that and seem to get great joy from that approach. However, the reality is that most of us need to be achieving, earning and winning, at least some of the time.
Unfortunately, for many, it needs to be all the time. (Just take a look at the present political landscape.) We live in a world where getting credit and being a “celebrity” appear to be the name of the game – did you notice how many celebration dances we saw throughout the Super Bowl on Sunday? This seems to me to be the zero-sum game at work, where the only acceptable outcome is winning at the expense of others.
However, on the contrary, it was really nice to see how humble both Von Miller and Peyton Manning of the Broncos appeared to be in post-game interviews. They were both happy about having won, but they were also really grateful for the chance to be there as well as for the contributions of the others around them.
Most of us try to win, a little bit at a time, over our lives and careers. Of course, winning is important to fulfilling our duties to others including our families, and also to satisfying our own need to have done our best. However, doesn’t it seem there is more to life than “I win, you lose”?
So, think about this, even if living an entirely selfless servant’s life may be impractical for most of us, wouldn’t living a life of gratitude be a potential path to an “ideal” future? Now, I ask you, is it even possible to be both grateful and self-absorbed at the same time? Something to think about.