Each of us has a life purpose, a reason that we are here. Our job while we’re alive is to figure out what that purpose is and to fulfill it.
The fascinating thing is that each of us has a different life purpose. My purpose is to be a writer. Yours may be to run a small business, or to be a farmer. The options are endless for what a person’s life purpose might be.
But there is one common thread that runs through every human being’s life purpose: we each are here to serve the world and, in some way, improve it. That may sound like a daunting task, but it isn’t.
The key is to live a “life of service.” An attitude of service should pervade all that you do.
Below are some ways to live a life of service to the world. When you approach your life in this way, you’ll find that it becomes much more meaningful.
1. Treat your job as an act of service.
Most of us view our jobs as ways to make money. But, when we think about our work, we should view it as part of our service to the world.
Whether you are a lawyer, a janitor, or a scientist, your job in some way impacts others. So, how you do your job matters. When you do your job well and treat your colleagues with kindness and respect, you make your part of the world a much better place.
Moreover, your job becomes more enjoyable when you view it as an act of service to the world. For instance, silly comments by your boss or colleagues won’t bother you when you are doing your job for a higher purpose. You will also approach your job with greater enthusiasm when you view it not just as a job, but as your way of serving others.
2. Treat every task as important.
We tend to value tasks based on how much we can get paid for doing them. It is likely that no one pays you to clean your bathroom or to do your family’s laundry. Therefore, we view those tasks as unimportant.
But in fact, the opposite is true! Every task is important, especially when it involves making other people’s lives better. The more directly you serve another human being, the more valuable that task is.
For instance, in my mind, folding my daughter’s clothes is just as important as the work that I do at my job. It’s true that I don’t get paid to fold her clothes. But that small act is valuable. When I take care of her clothing, I am showing her that I love her.
So, remember that even the smallest task done in service to another human being is important. Do even those small tasks well and with love.
3. Be on the alert for ways to serve.
Most people have difficulty asking for help; typically folks don’t want to impose on anyone else. As a result, if you see someone struggling, don’t just offer to help. That person likely won’t take you up on it.
For example, many years ago I hosted a dinner party. At the end of the party, my kitchen was full of dishes. As everyone was leaving, one gentleman came into the kitchen and started doing dishes with me. He didn’t ask. If he had I would have said “no,” since he was a guest.
But instead, he just started helping and chatting. It was a simple act of kindness, but it made such an impression on me. So, be on the alert. If you see someone with a need, try to fill it. Make serving others an activity that you naturally seek out throughout your day.
4. Serve without expectation of thanks.
If you help others with an expectation of gratitude or in order to receive something in return, you have missed the entire point. A life of service is a reward unto itself.
When we serve others, it changes us for the better. First, it gives us a sense of confidence. If you can help others, you are a capable individual. You are no longer a child, but an adult who can care for other people.
Service also keeps us humble. In a world in which we often are being served, we easily can go down the misguided path of thinking that we are superior. It is important sometimes to be the person who serves, so that we keep our egos in check.
It also helps us to make a connection with other people. When you serve another person, you are offering more than tangible assistance. You are offering love. And when that other person accepts, you’ve made a new connection.
So, don’t serve with the expectation of a “thank you.” Of course it’s nice when people express their gratitude, but serve others knowing that—when you serve—you truly are the one who benefits. Consider adopting some of the above approaches to living your life in service to the world. When you do so, you will see your own life be transformed for the better.