28 Jul '17 — perhaps finding purpose and meaning
What if we were here to serve? Any cause other than ourselves.
This idea first came to me a couple months ago but it didn't make it's way into me until today.
Instead of becoming a star, successful in career or as a creative, or someone who gets a significant number of followers...what if being outstanding wasn't the point?
I've spent decades competing to stand out against others. Even when it came to activities that were 'self-less'. I wanted to be the best babysitter. It feels good when the kids prefer you over others. I wanted to be the best at customer service. It feels good to be recognized against coworkers. I even wanted to be the best volunteer. I thought it was convincing to others that I cared more for social problems than other volunteers. The only thing I was serving was my reputation. I don't think I knew how to be self less even if I wanted to.
I never considered a different mode of being.
Today I came across a video where Adam Driver talks about how he went from the Marines to acting. He's part of a theater group that visits Marines all around the world. Whether it was the Marines or the theatre group, his story was about his intention to serve. His experiences described the joy and meaning that came in serving. The benefit is found solely in helping others.
I love finding new perspectives. However, I'm alarmed how long this perspective has been around but I just never tried it out. For decades, I couldn't have been driven by motives other than self serving, other than recognition desiring. It was the reasoning behind my drive, all my activities. Which is probably why I often find myself at a dead end, struggling to find place and meaning.
It could have been different the entire time.