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Most people, regardless of their age, operate like small children.
They never truly grow up.
What does this mean?
Most children are focused completely on their own needs and wishes. They want more, more, more.
As a foster parent, I see this every single day. We get our kids something, and within a few moments, they are asking for something else. They have an insatiable desire for more. It can never be fulfilled. They are never satisfied.
Of course, we teach our kids to be grateful and appreciate what they have. But they are in a dependent state. They are, after all, children. So it’s reasonable that their focus is entirely upon themselves and their own survival.
Unfortunately, most people never grow out of this self-centered and consumptive approach to life.
Most people do things only for what it will bring them in return.
Don’t get me wrong, doing things for compensation is completely fine. But is that compensation the core motivation for the work you are doing?
Very few people do incredible work because they are more focused on what they can get than what they can give.
People want promotions not so they can give more, but so they can get more.
Very few people take on greater responsibility so they can work more. Very few people position themselves in leadership so they can work harder.
Hence the quote from Abraham Lincoln, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Most people want “power” for the benefits they get from that power. Few people want power only for the purpose of giving more of themselves to a cause they believe in.
Only a select few people ever grow consciously beyond their own needs. Only a select few develop convictions strong enough to give their lives for. Only a select few will commit to something with such force that they are willing to transform themselves to uphold that commitment.
Only a select few will become something, not for the accolades and outcomes, but for the purpose of intensifying the process of their work and contribution.
So I ask: What is your core approach to life?
Do you primarily want to receive?
Or do you primarily want to give?
It’s a simple question. It’s one most people wont answer honestly.
But the answer to that question lies at the heart of what you’ll do and achieve in your life.
If you’re primarily motivated by what you can get from something, then once you get that thing, your motivation will be gone.
I’ve seen this again and again. I’ve even experienced it in myself, which has caused such a deep meditation on the subject.
For example, when someone starts writing, and they put in lots and lots of work to eventually get a book deal, they find that they no longer desire to write. Now that they have the accolade and the recognition, they are satisfied. That’s what they truly wanted deep down. It wasn’t actually about the writing, but what the writing could get them.
The same holds true for relationships, which is why most relationships end poorly. If the relationship isn’t giving you what you want, then you no longer want the relationship.
The best work (and relationships) can only come when you give yourself entirely to it. That must be your motivation. Of course you need compensation.
Hence the saying: Don’t work for money. Make money so you can do more work. Yes, you need money. You need resources. But those things are means to doing more of the work you so desperately believe in.
Why Most People Will Never Be Successful
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. ” — Viktor E. Frankl
Most people will never be successful because most people remain children, consciously, and never evolve.
They remain purely self-indulgent and self-absorbed.
They never develop convictions that drive them to dedicate their lives to a particular service and audience.
They aren’t willing to learn and transform themselves for a commitment. Instead, they only commit to something so long as it benefits them. Once things get tough, their “commitment” disappears.
In order to be truly successful, and to make an enormous impact on the world, you must give yourself fully to something. It can’t be about you anymore. You must be driven to serve. To help other people, and to solve specific problems.
This is the very reason few people ever actually experience love. Because they engage in relationships only for their own benefit. Love isn’t about you. It’s about the other person. And the only way to truly experience love is by giving it.
When you’re driven by giving, you already know you’ll receive abundantly in return. The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.
When you are completely motivated to serve and give, you have complete confidence the outcome will be successful.
Success isn’t hard, because it’s not your obsession. It’s an unintended consequence. It’s a byproduct of everything you’re putting into your work.
Success is a habit for people motivated by something greater than themselves. Success is easy when you’re not focused on yourself.
However, when you’re focused on yourself, success is SO HARD. It’s hard because it’s fleeting.
It’s fleeting just as the joy is fleeting for my child when I give them a toy. As soon as they get it, they want something else. It’s all about what they can consume, not about what they can create and give.
Only those who care more about helping others will keep going, long after all of their needs are met and long after they receive enormous accolades and “success.”
It doesn’t matter how many accolades you acquire if those accolades are the reason for what you’re doing. Because, soon enough, you’ll stop doing the work that got those accolades. You’ll be satisfied with your “success” and those who are driven by something more will keep going. They’ll keep digging deeper into the problems of this world and they’ll be the ones who solve those problems.
When you’re driven by giving, you run toward problems. Most people run away from problems. They don’t want to deal with them. But the world is filled with problems, and those problems need solutions.
Your life can be measured in direct proportion to the problems you seek to solve in your life.
Some people are content solving the problem of getting through the day.
Others are seeking to solve world hunger, or providing education to children in need, or a host of other important issues.
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Is it for what you can get, or what you can give?