Monday, November 29, 2010

The Magic Question - What Can I Give?

What is the answer to the question, “Who am I, really?”

We ask different questions at different stages of our lives.

At puberty and early childhood, we are preoccupied with questions of identity. We ask, “Who am I, really?”

This is the mother-lode of all questions about our life. It’s not a question we answer by saying, “I’m an engineer” or “I’m a dad.” It’s a question that requires deeper responses, like what I value, what brings me joy, what motivates me, the way I want to live my life.

Many of us never found the answer in our lifetime. Some which we thought were answers led instead to stress, disease, and even tragedies.

I believe we need to ask another question in order to get the answer to this one. We need a bit of reverse engineering.

In their elder years, people look back and ask themselves, had it all been worthwhile? What have I done with my life? Have I contributed anything of lasting value? What’s my legacy?

People tend not to ask these questions when they are young.

We don’t have to wait until we are old before we ask the question, “What have I given?” The earlier we ask the question, “What can I give?” the earlier we become wise enough to know the answer to the question, “Who am I really?”

Gandhi said that the best way to find ourselves is to lose ourselves in the service of others. The answer to “Who am I, really?” has to be found by answering the call “What can I give?”

Many Americans led fulfilling, purposeful lives by answering President Kennedy’s call to his countrymen to ask not what their country can do for them, but to ask what they can do for their country.

We get the most out of life not by taking what we can for ourselves, but by giving to others. Ask yourself - What have I done lately to help people out? Have I been kind to people? Have I been compassionate? Have I been there for anyone? Listened? Volunteered for those in need?

The magic question “What can I give?” is like a switch.

Our life force flows when we ask what we can give.

When we ask "What can I give?" we will look for our talents and gifts. What we look for, we will find. We will live a life of gratitude with an abundance mindset.

Asking the question, “What can I get” only leads to life sapping busyness. We become frantic go-getters.

When we ask "What can I get?" we will be looking for what is missing in our life. We will live a life of stress with a scarcity mindset.

Change your question from “what can I get” to “what can I give” and change your life.

As Aristotle said, your profession is where your talent and the needs of the world meet.

Find yourself, become a go-giver.

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