1. To be part of something greater than ourselves. Here’s how others have explained it.
“To be a man is to feel that one’s own stone contributes to building the edifice of the world.” (Antoine de Saint Erupery, 1900~1944)
“We are not here to merely make a living. We are here to enrich the world, and we impoverish ourselves if we forget this errand.”
(Woodrow T. Wilson, 1856~1924)
“The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” (Leo Rosten, 1908~1997)
“There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” (Walter Reuther,1907~1970)
2. We do it for ourselves. Mohandas Gandhi (1869~1948) was laboriously serving the people of a remote village when he was asked why he was doing it.
“Are you doing it for humanitarian reasons?” he was asked.
“Not at all,” Gandhi answered, “I am here to serve no one else than myself, to find my own self-realization through the service of these village folk.”
Every time we help another, we help ourselves, for when we dig another out of their troubles, we find a place to bury our own.
3. To return to life the many blessings it freely offers. As another has said, “We have all drank from wells we did not dig and have been warmed by fires we did not build.” So, isn’t it only right that we give back? Robert L. Payton adds, “We are temporary stewards with an obligation to manage the inheritance in such a way that it can be passed along even better and stronger than it was when we received it.”
4. Not to give back is not to live. Or, as it was put by Eleanor Roosevelt (1884~1962), “When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.” Ethel Percy Andrus (1884~1967) agrees: “The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”
5. To leave a legacy. Albert Pike (1809~1891) clarifies: “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
6. To experience peace and happiness. World renowned expert on stress, Hans Selye (1907~1982), said, “If you want to live a long life, focus on making contributions.”
7. To be a role model. Many lost souls are still trying to figure out why they are here. Your exemplary behavior may finally help them realize the simple truth that we are here to help one another.
“There are certain things that are fundamental to human fulfillment;” says Stephen R. Covey, “the essence of these needs is captured in the phrase ‘to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy’. The need to live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter, economical well-being, health. The need to love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love and to be loved. The need to learn is our mental need to develop and to grow. And the need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.”