We were created to serve; service is a vital part of our essence. Whatever we choose to do in our lifetime, all vocations are committed to service. This implies exposing ourselves to the differences and challenges of our own personalities – a challenge from which if we seek harmony, we all benefit.
We attract people who think alike and share our same beliefs. Our actions have the ability to impact our environment around us. Doing well is undoubtedly the meaning of good results, but there is a fundamental factor that energizes the most complex circumstances: our own thoughts.
Take Care of Your Thoughts
What thoughts inhabit your mind? Faced with the attitudes and behaviors of others, how do you react? Do you analyze what could motivate a person to act unethically or do you respond with anger, distrust, or resentment?
“Freedom is what you do with what they have done to you.” – Jean Paul Sartre.
Prudence, the ability to use reason to discipline ourselves, is the mother of all virtues. The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is wide open. Open to the orientation that we give towards a fuller and happier life, open to valuing people’s potential, open to enthusiasm in the face of novelty, open to the creativity of reconciling and proposing new alternatives, open to the capacity for wonder and empathy.
Thoughts create feelings. To think well is to feel good because good thoughts generate positive feelings. When we act positively, what we do ends up being effective, productive, and of fertile impact.
Behaviors based on thoughts with positive values are firm and consistent; like a house with a foundation of rocks that no storm can bring down. It is very useful to be attentive to our thoughts, the way we use them can either destroy or build situations, relationships, and people because we become what we think.
Let’s activate mindfulness, let’s stop to reflect on the various daily circumstances we encounter: is there coherence between your thoughts and feelings? What values and emotions reflect what you say? What do your actions reveal? What are your genuine motivations?
Navigating Conflicting Thoughts
It’s beneficial to consider the position of the observer – a behavioral appreciation technique in which we examine our role as that of a character in a movie.
When we distance ourselves from the conflict or a particular situation that’s causing us stress and anxiety, we can visualize ourselves in a real and quite objective way. The constructive self-observation the observer technique enables us to achieve allows us to more comprehensively perceive our shortcomings, which mobilizes our determination to make the necessary adjustments to our attitudes or behaviors that do not benefit us. This is one of the reasons why this technique is also very effective when it comes to negotiation processes.
What We Do Is Who We Are
Our behavior reflects our lifestyle – a way of being and doing things.
Today’s world is full of frenzied, superficial, and voracious consumption. All of which generates indifference to the needs of the environment and those around us and leads to the depletion of natural resources and pollution of the environment to the detriment of future generations. The question we ought to ask ourselves when facing this situation is: what lifestyle do I want to live and sustain and what does that lifestyle say about who I am?
Everything that happens to us is an outcome of our own decisions. And every decision we make reflects what values we hold dear. Our values reflect who we are, what we stand for, and what we will and will not tolerate.
Leave no room for narrow, harmful, and disturbing thoughts in your mind. They will only trigger harmful afflictive emotions, which rejoice from causing confusion and dysfunctional beliefs. Harmful thoughts steal opportunities by altering the real perception of things, block our creative processes, sadden us, generate anguish, and end us causing harm emotional and psychological harm.
“The conflict cannot survive without your participation.” – Wayne Dyer.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Let’s open our minds and activate our thoughts, basing them on positive values. Practicing and instilling positive values within us will enable us to have the necessary flexibility to face difficult relationships. There is no shortage of people and circumstances too complicated to deal with and manage in our everyday life.
Emphasize versatility to encourage positive thinking. Versatility is the virtue of changing one’s sight around different circumstances, doing new things, igniting creativity, and acting with confidence, without holding ties.
Think about how positive thinking can impact people’s lives. Having the day-to-day as a reference, every day our actions can impact the lives of others in a positive way. Having an honest conversation with yourself in the mirror and asking: ‘Am I doing enough? What value and consideration am I giving to each one of my actions and goals? Am I inspiring learning and growth in both myself and in others?’
The commitments are temporary; assuming them with responsibility moves us to leave meaningful traces in other people’s lives. It means doing our best to make a difference through the service we give to others. Even when our participation is minimal, we can contribute something special in what we have to do and be a significant source of inspiration for others.
It’s not always about the time we spend, but the dedication and love with which we do what we do that ultimately makes a difference.
The Three Pillars of Service
It is true that service is a topic that could carry extensive literature, but I want to summarize in three pillars what it means for us to live a life of service to others in a conscious and generous way. The three pillars of service are:
- Commitment. With yourself, with nature, with others – mentally, physically, and spiritually.
- Behavior. Making our actions coherent, consistent, and valuable to leave meaningful footprints through them.
- Community. Where we would like the results of our efforts to be seen. Your community should help your individuality transcend, grow, and enhance your skills and possibilities for the good of the environment.
Remember, we are a consequence of our own decisions. Our decisions gain value and strength as we pass them through our own skin. Nothing will ever change unless we make an effort to put the very best of ourselves into it. From the conviction that we are agents of change, we can take our acts of service to a larger scale contribution.
A Life of Service is a Happy Life
When we measure the valuable and empowering impact of our contribution in our attitudes, thoughts, and ideas with our families, environment, friends, colleagues, and projects, it is wonderful to discover that the essential virtues for a fruitful and happy life arise from our own thoughts.
Who would not feel happy in relationships where loyalty, honesty, fidelity, openness, forgiveness, integrity, responsibility, justice, joy, patience, and dignity are fundamental values? Well, that relationship starts with the one you build with yourself.
We can only give what we have and what we have can catalyze change within our ecosystems. Daily habits such as meditating, exercising serenity, carving out feelings, and cultivating wisdom prepare us to lead a life of service.
“The most important thing is not what is in front of us, but what is behind us and what is within us.” – Mario Alonso Puig.
More than agents of change, we are agents of transcendence – because we care about what our hard and diligent actions leave behind. We don’t just have the privilege of serving, but we have an even greater privilege: the privilege of building, living consciously, and, in the fruitfulness of our itinerary, leaving an influential and positive legacy behind.
As G. Cummings once said: “We all have an axis around in which our life centers… Make sure your shaft is as solid as a rock and is based on unshakeable principles.”
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