To give is to live; when you stop giving, you stop living. You give or contribute not just by what you do but also by who you are.
If you have sound character and display honesty, integrity, humility, and discipline, you contribute to others by your own example. Who you are and why and how you do things are just as important as what you do. Thus, by aligning your actions with your words, you become a person of influence and significance.
With our words we can only preach,” said St. Francis of Assisi. “In the end, it is our actions that teach.” When you contribute and serve, you tap into your genius and ignite your untapped potential.
Most people live and die leaving a huge portion of their potential untapped. This happens because they do not discover their true gifts and therefore never discern their callings in life. They fail to find worthwhile causes that are really meaningful to them and that could make a great difference in their lives.
Each of us is endowed with enormous gifts; most of us only scratch the surface of these gifts during our entire lifetimes. But when we give to others, or give of ourselves to meaningful causes, things change. We expect more of ourselves. We discover new feelings of self-worth. And when this happens, we tap into our potential and benefit not only ourselves, but others as well.
Some may define success as making a lot of money. Others may see it as building an empire. Some define it as beating a baseball record, and some as unraveling the secrets of the universe. Still others define it as feeding the hungry children. How do you define success? The happiest people are those who focus on purpose and giving. You must travel the journey from success to significance. This happens when you begin to give and make a difference.
During Expo a long time away in Vancouver, British Columbia, I decided to take Gale, a wheelchair-bound friend, to visit the Expo. I picked her up at her house, patiently seated her in my car, put the wheelchair in the trunk, and proceeded to Expo.
When we reached the Expo, we encountered a huge crowd with long lines everywhere. I felt that I had goofed badly by not thinking things through. How would we ever be able to wade through the crowd and negotiate the lines to see the shows. But since we had come all this way, I reasoned that we should take in at least a few shows. So we both waited in line.
After a few minutes, a police officer passed by and saw Gale in the wheelchair. He asked Gale and me to follow him. He took us to the front of the line, and told us that we could do the same thing at the rest of the shows. We saw most of the shows in a fraction of the time it would have taken me to see the Expo on my own.
It doesn’t always work out that way. But had the officer not appeared, I would still have persevered to ensure that Gale was able to experience the Expo. It’s the intention that counts.
If you’re like most people, you’ve been through difficult times with a friend who has a serious illness, or is hurting from a divorce, or is coping with some other difficult event in life.
You have to balance the compassion, time, and energy you offer to such friends with your own ability to give. You want to empower as far as possible, not overpower!
Condensed message from “Life Balance the Sufi Way” by Azim Jamal and Dr. Nido Qubein. For feedback email firstname.lastname@example.org