Helping people brings great fulfilment. When you spend your day serving others, you can lay your head down at night and sleep soundly. And even if you have spent much of your life chasing selfish gain, it’s not too late to have a change of heart. Even Charles Dickens’ character, Scrooge, discovered you can turn your life around and make a difference for others.
That’s what Alfred Nobel did. He was shocked when he saw his obituary in a newspaper. His brother had died, and the editor mistakenly named Alfred instead in an uncomplimentary summary of his life, mentioning the many people killed through the explosives his profitable company produced. So, Nobel vowed to spend the rest of his life promoting peace and acknowledging contributions to humanity. That’s how the Nobel Prizes came into being!
When you get outside of yourself and make a contribution to others, you really begin to live. Unselfishness is its own reward; it’s not dependent on the response of others. This is the principle by which the apostle Paul lived: ‘I will gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the more I love you, the less you love me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:15 NLT)
When you see a four-year-old, you expect selfishness. But when you see it in a forty-year-old, it’s not very attractive, is it? Of all the qualities you can pursue, unselfishness seems to make the biggest difference towards cultivating other virtues. Yes, it goes against the grain of human nature. But if you can learn to think unselfishly and become a giver, it becomes easier to develop other virtues, such as gratitude, love, respect, patience, and discipline.