I believe there is an idea, a further notion within our beings, that this life isn't meant to be lived alone, independently, for one's self. However, we seem to be living in an interesting time in history where we are told to look after one's self before anyone else. Sidenote: in CPR training courses, if someone in need of help is still in immediate danger, you are not to help them until you know it is safe because, if you do run to their aid and get hurt in the process, then there will be two people in need of help instead of one. This of course is a rare occurrence for most of us. So my question is, what happens when the notion of looking after one's self first spills over into everyday situations?
I would not be able to count the number of times I have heard someone say to either me or someone else, "You need to do what's best for you, not anyone else."
Now, I understand this statement may be coming from a good place, and can in some cases even be helpful. However, is it true? Is it the way in which we should conduct ourselves on a daily basis?
I am told that we need to follow MY dreams, that I need to do what is best for ME, I need to look after MYSELF. But, if you think about it, none of us are alone, none of us are an island... our stories always include others. MY dreams, that which is best for ME and even looking after MYSELF doesn’t truly happen unless I have people WITH me.
At the Academy Awards, you don't hear speeches from Leonardo DiCaprio or Anne Hathaway that talk about how amazing they are and how they can't believe they won all by themselves, without anyone's help. At the Grammy's, you don't hear Taylor Swift or Katy Perry thank themselves for all the hard work they put in and how they are glad they didn't have any help to reach the status they have obtained and how the only reason they received this prestigious honor is because they only looked out for themselves and made it with no one's help. No. The speeches are filled with (begrudgingly annoying sometimes) an excessive amount of thanks to producers and directors, family and friends, managers and special assistants, co-stars and inspirations and on and on.
Without people surrounding us, pushing us in the direction we want to go, encouraging us to shoot for the stars, helping us gain connections and auditions, people who believe in us, we would not get anywhere. Connections and auditions don't have to be in the music or film industry. They could simply mean a reference for a job opening in a field someone really wants to work in. It does not have to mean it leads to fame and fortune, it just has to mean it leads in a direction that an individual wants to go.
All for one.
Because, theoretically, everyone around us is FOR us, we must be FOR everyone else.
Let's take this down to everyday life rather than dreams and aspirations...
If a co-worker needs time off because they want to see their family, you should step and help them instead of thinking, "Well, that is my only day off and I want to spend it how I want."
If a friend needs a ride to the airport, you should accept rather than thinking, "Well, they won't give me money for gas and it's way out of my way, so I'm not going to do it."
If a stranger comes up to you asking to jump their car, you should help rather than pretending you don't have jumper cables.
One for all.
There are too many times in my life that I have witnessed anyone from a good friend to a stranger, make excuses or think about themselves instead of extending a helping hand to others. In many cases, it is something they have done before many times in the past but the next time, they just don't want to because they aren't going to get anything out of it.
Too often we always want something for ourselves…
If I cover that shift, they better cover mine this weekend...
If I drive them to the airport, they better pay me for gas....
If I jump their car, I hope I at least get 10$ out of it...
Why is that our default thought process nowadays? That we better get something out of everything we do, and if we aren't somehow compensated for our time, money, or effort, then we will pass or never do it again.
Let’s change this mentality. It may be idealistic. It certainly won't be instantaneous. It definitely won't be easy. But, as most great minds have said, we must be the change we wish to see in the world. In order to change something, we must actively do it; not just hope and pray for change to come. The only way it will happen is for ONE to start living for ALL... and over time, the ALL will start living for ONE.
These posts offer further reflection on topics we tackle during MTL nights.