“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Gandhi
Do you recall Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. To pinch Wikepedia’s entry (to save blistered fingertips):
“Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization at the top.”
The ‘idea’ is that once a lower need is satisfied it no longer motivates, and the individual seeks satisfaction of the next level, and so on until the highest level is sought and/or achieved. So once one is physically satisfied one moves on to security, then relationships are sought, then self-esteem and in the original version, self-actualisation. (PS – apparently Maslow NEVER used a pyramid!)
I have seen it opined that Self-Actualisation results when once activities are wholly in keeping with ones values, and to be frank can’t think of any better interpretation. Once you achieve what you value (whether it be money, property, happiness, adventure, etc.) on a consistent basis, you have congruence between what you want and what you have. Provided, therefore, that what you want is the result of competence (work) and character (attitude, standards, respect), which in turn resulted from some level of self-discipline, you will be content if not happy – certainly at peace with yourself – and you shall have exercised the first two of The Three Resolutions. And you will have demonstrated integrity – you ‘couldn’t not have’.
But two points remain to be stated. First of all, it is unlikely that anyone can reach self-actualisation without, as a result of compliance with the ‘Social’ needs, having become engaged in some kind of service. I can’t see how one could create client relationships or colleague relationships without committing to the provision of service at some level, after all. So the Third Resolution has been approached in some way.
The second point is the lesser known fact that Maslow, as he approached the end of his life, opined that the hierarchy was incomplete. He added Self-TRANSCENDENCE to it. Self-transcendence is the point at and after which we have grown past ‘self’ and live in such a way as to create synergistic results with and for other people. In other words, service becomes not a part of the social need to relate to others, but instead becomes the driver. The social need is promoted above our own need.
And this, to a greater degree than ever, is where The Third Resolution comes into its own. Noble purpose and service to others, provided out of desire and not ‘just’ social or physical (income) need.
Seek to serve. You are allowed to earn income from it, but try and do something for nothing, too.