There’s been much written and much discussed about those who “run into danger.” Over and over again we hear of brave men and women who set aside what would protect themselves to face danger in the service of others. And when we hear these stories each one of us is humbled, encouraged and deeply moved. We are humbled because we hope that we, facing similar circumstances, would do the same thing. We are encouraged, because this courage, these acts of bravery, helps us believe that we can make a difference for the better in our world. And we are deeply moved because that’s the only possible response when we see the power of love demonstrated so clearly in the lives of others.
So why is this so important? Because this reflects the way in which we are called to live our lives! This is how it really works! This doesn’t mean that we are to run out like storm chasers to find danger and run into it. No! But it does mean that we are supposed to live our lives in such a way as to be a service to others. Imagine going out every day with a single focus; to help others succeed first. You’d be on the front lines of fulfilling the Ultimate Success Principle! You’d be making a difference in the lives of others and contributing to making our world a better place. Will it be hard? Probably. Will you have to sacrifice? Sure. But anything worthwhile has a price to pay. So what’s the alternative? It’s much of what we see today: It’s all about serving ourselves, making sure we’re covered, making sure we’re safe. That’s the real danger: living with low expectations, settling for less and making it all about me. These are some of the real tragedies today.
So, let’s risk it! Let’s “run into danger” and choose to hold ourselves to high expectations, to not settle and to make it about serving others. It’ll take bravery and courage and, in the end, we will leave others humbled, encouraged and deeply moved! It’ll be a great story!
There’s a tremendous amount of focus on what we do and not so much on why we do it. And that is, by far, the most important part. The Ultimate Success Principle states: “if I help you succeed, I’ll succeed. If we help others succeed, we’ll succeed.” It’s pretty simply, not always easy. What determines whether or not we’re helping others succeed? It’s not “what” we do for them, it’s “why” we do it. The “why” makes all the difference in the world!
Allow me to illustrate: let’s say that I go out and buy you a very nice gift. It’s something you most definitely want. And when I present it to you it’s wrapped very nicely with very appropriate bow. When you open the gift and you see what’s inside, you’re absolutely thrilled to have received it. Now, here’s the real question: what really makes it a gift? It’s not the gift itself. If that were the case we could stop right here. No, it’s deeper than that. It’s the reason, the motive, my “why” for getting you this gift. If I did it just because I wanted you to have it and I knew you would thoroughly enjoy it, that’s a good “why” and one that serves you. I have fulfilled the Ultimate Success Principle. If, however, I gave it to you so that you would buy me a gift (a nice one!) or that you would think well of me or that you would owe me a favor then this is no longer a gift. At the very least it’s a bribe and at the worst it’s extortion. And this applies to all those things we do with and for others. If our motives are pure and all about serving others, it’s all good, it all works. If are motives are selfish, serving ourselves, then we are violating the Ultimate Success Principle. As I said simple, not easy. This applies to every single thing we do with and for others. Only we know deep down inside what are true motivation is but others can see the “fruit” or result of our motives. Inward focus, serving self, bad “fruit.” Outward focus, serving others, good “fruit.” What do I mean? If someone tells you that they’re doing all the right things and yet most things never really work out, the problem is their motivation, their inward focus. If someone, for the most part, let’s their actions speak louder than their words and they produce good results in many different ways, they’re serving others. They have an outward focus.
What drives an inward or outward focus? Here comes the real why! One makes us selfish, is the worst of us and is a lie. The others make us selfless, is the best of us and is the truth. An inward focus is born out of fear. An outward focus is born out of love. We are here to serve God and others, to love and not be afraid. Next time I’ll share about the power of love and the power of fear.