Author's note: I am a compulsive advice-giver-always have been. When my own son was in high school, he wasn't interested in his old man's advice so I wrote it down in the hope that he might change his mind one day. What follows is one piece of that advice. I trust it applies to all of us, regardless of age.
I slept and dreamed that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted, and behold, service was joy.
We talked earlier about making yourself useful. Here’s another way to put it: serve others.
In his audio program Lead the Field, Earl Nightingale makes the point that the extent of your success will be in direct proportion to the extent of your service to others. Think about this for a moment, and you’ll see that it makes perfect sense.
If an organization had an employee who did nothing—just sat around playing Solitaire all day—that employee wouldn’t last very long. He or she would be dead weight. On the other hand, an employee who accomplished twice as much as the average worker would be considered indispensable, and would likely receive a higher paycheck and faster promotions than the average.
Employees will sometimes say, “They can’t expect me to do that extra work,” or “That’s not in my contract.” Then they complain that they’re not paid enough or are not appreciated. But they’re getting just what they deserve; to expect more is to deny reality.
It’s a pretty simple concept: you can’t expect something for nothing. You wouldn’t expect to be hired to manage a large corporation straight out of school; you’ve done nothing to earn it. By the same token, you can’t expect a big raise or promotion without making a sufficient contribution to deserve such a reward.
While all human beings have equal value as persons, some clearly have skills, training, and experience that are more valuable than others. One doesn’t make it into this group right away; it usually takes years of concentrated effort to get there. These valuable people are in great demand precisely because they are so rare. As a result, they usually command higher financial rewards for their work.
But money is by no means the only reward to be had from work—indeed, it’s probably less important than the personal fulfillment derived from a job well done. A fat paycheck is a hollow reward if it isn’t accompanied by a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction that you are making the world better through your work. So embrace the idea of service. That’s where the real rewards are. .