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“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Third Resolution reads:“To overcome the restraining forces of unbridled aspiration and ambition, I resolve to dedicate my talents and resources to noble purposes and to provide service to others.”

The ‘imposition’ of compliance with all of the Three Resolutions is that having achieved higher levels of self-discipline, competence and character, we should use the benefits of that achievement by serving others. Otherwise, we have not achieved, or at least achieved enough; nor are we living ethically.

Note that the Third Resolution does NOT state, either explicitly nor implicitly, that the only kind of service one should provide is selfless, charitable or sacrificial. Only that the talents and resources serve others.

We do that every day when we go to work and exercise our competence to the benefit of our employer and clients. We do it when we enjoy doing something for expenses only, as well as when we do things for free. The focus of the Third Resolution is on the provision of service, freely given or paid. So there is no need to feel angst when we don’t give money or time to charity, providing we give our time with the objective of making other peoples’ lives better.

At the same time, compliance with the Third Resolution does not prevent you providing free, charitable, selfless service to others!

(Of course, the cynic in me recognises the irony in doing some stunt to raise money for charity while giving money to someone else for their exploits to the same end. It means that my money goes around in an endless economic typhoon, coming back to me and then going elsewhere. That’s why when I do feel the urge to do something charitable I just give, and don’t ask others for money back. And don’t get me started on the question why, after Help for Heroes was set up to aid wounded servicemen, half a dozen other charities all appeared seeking the same end. Charitable? Not if it only benefits those egos that won’t work with the originals, no.)

Giving your time and competency for free in the service of others is, arguably, enough. Let others focus their efforts on collecting cash if that is their strength. Play to your own. Teach, role model, give your time – whatever you can do to serve, don’t feel obliged to comply with someone else’s expectations or impositions.

Do so because, as Emerson suggests, you become better and feel more compete when you do so. For example, I have just started a process to teach/mentor drivers in advanced driving technique. My objective is improved driving standards, not road safety – although the latter will be served by the former. Doing this serves me as much as it serves my future trainees because that task reminds me of my own need to be a better driver, to maintain a high standard and keep on learning so that my teaching improves. I get better attitudinally and technically, as I help others do the same. Emerson was right.

Serve your own way – in a way that is a reflection of your Mission Statement. But serve.

This week, decide what you have to offer that would benefit others through a charitable (free) route, or just revisit your attitude towards the paid work you do and see if you can improve it. Join a professional association, a charity – anything!

For more on The Third Resolution, go to Amazon.

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