Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” Martin Luther King, Jr.
What are your plans to do something for others in 2018?
How many times have you heard someone say “don’t be selfish”? Most of us probably grew up hearing lectures or learning lessons about how bad it is to be selfish. For some of us, just having boundaries was an expression of selfishness. For some of us, for whatever reason, developed habits of selfishness and carried those habits into business. It’s unfortunate that Conscious Capitalism is so unique that it catches the attention of media and cultural observers as something out of the ordinary. Business people are not known for their unselfishness.
Simon Sinek in his books Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last has introduced to his readers what is essentially the biology of happiness, fulfillment, and the basis for a successful business. He talks about the four hormones responsible for feelings of happiness and the behaviors that cause the release of those hormones. One of those hormones, Serotonin, is released when we do something for the benefit of another, especially if the other cannot do something for us in return. So it would seem we are created to do for others.
Martin Luther King Jr. suggests that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question” is “What have you done for others?” In other words, if we are feeling like our life doesn’t have any meaning or purpose, if we are feeling unhappy in our work, if getting up in the morning is a drudge it is in part because we are not doing something for others.
The theme for January’s Reflective Options has been about starting the New Year, creating new habits, making plans for the year. If 2018 isn’t something you are looking forward to with anticipation, perhaps it would serve you, and those around you, to put into action a plan for doing something for someone who cannot do something for you in return. Is there something you can give your employees? Want to ramp up your company morale? How might you engage your employees in doing something for someone who cannot return the favor?
How might our communities be better if we were doing something for those who cannot return the favor? What is one thing you could do this week? This month? This quarter? How will you include something for nothing in your plans for 2018?
Remember these words: “Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country.” (JFK) How might we all release a little serotonin into our lives?
FYI: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968, was an American Baptist minister, spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights movement advocating non-violence to overcome prejudice and inequality.