About six months ago I was perusing through YouTube and I came upon a video suggestion to watch a TED Talk by a guy named Simon Sinek. In case you don’t already know about TED Talks, click TED to learn more. They’re amazing. Now Simon is an author and motivational speaker. He teaches leaders and organizations around the world how to inspire people. His entire TED talk centered around one simple question…WHY? He also wrote an amazing book on it too, Start With Why.
Why do certain leaders resonate with us (Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, etc) while others don’t? Why do certain companies (Apple Inc., Costco) succeed as innovators in their industry and serve as inspiration while most don’t? Why do some companies attain longevity (25, 35, 50 years) in their industry and others fail after 5? The answer is in the WHY…the purpose, cause, or belief.
Simon believes that the key to being a great leader or having a great company is to always make your WHY (purpose, cause, or belief) clear to the people you are trying to impact, a.k.a “market” to. Once you are clearly able to state what cause you believe in, you will then be able to attract people to you who believe in the same thing. What I heard from Simon not only interested me but resonated with me and I’m no doubt better off because of it. I decided it would only be right that I start my first post back with MY WHY.
Why do I have this blog? Why do I have a desire to help young women in their 20s and 30s that are feeling lost, lonely, sad, or depressed discover their purpose, happiness, peace, and joy? Why do I want to feed hungry children? Why do I want to give hope to the hopeless? Why do I want to spread the love of God to people who want to know about God? My WHY is simple: To help others deserve their great life so I can deserve mine.
To deserve means “to be worthy of.” A while back I was watching the OWN Network and I heard Oprah say something to the effect of, “Simply existing means you deserve a great life.” Now most people I know would agree with this statement; one, because it makes us feel pretty darn good about ourselves and two, because Oprah said it…we can all agree that Oprah knows her stuff. Surprisingly, however, when I heard it I couldn’t help but feel something was misleading about it. I deserve a great life just because I exist? Hmm…Hitler existed too. He was a maniacal terror that brought unbelievable pain and suffering to the lives of many. Did he deserve a great life? Was he worthy of a great life? I think not. You see, I felt there had to be more to this ‘deserving’ thing-y than met the eye and I made it my mission to find out.
I started studying people. I looked at those around me – family, friends, and co-workers – and those not so close to me – great world leaders, legends, even celebrities – to figure out what I believed it actually took to deserve one’s great life and just how many of us actually did. The result was pretty interesting. You see I came to the conclusion that to be deserving, or worthy, of your great life you must be happy AND fulfilled. To deserve, you have to SERVE.
To be happy, you have to serve yourself. What does that mean? It means you have to be considerate to yourself. How? Eat the foods you love. Listen to the music that makes you jump up and dance. Read good books you enjoy. Spend time with good family and friends that you enjoy being around. Travel to places you’ve always wanted to visit. If you enjoy photography, take photos. The list is endless.
To be fulfilled, you have to serve others. What does that mean? It means you have to be considerate to others. You have to be compassionate to others. How? Smile at people you pass by on the street. Compliment a stranger. Open the door for people at the grocery store or at the bank. Bring your co-workers a box of donuts in the morning. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen. Buy some food and give it to the homeless man you drive past every day on your way to work. Volunteer for the Peace Corps. Be a listening ear and supporter for a friend or family member in distress. Donate time or money to a charity. The list is endless.
To deserve a great life you must have a disposition of gratitude for your life and generosity towards the people in it (even strangers you just meet). Oprah is an example of someone I believe deserves her great life…she serves herself and others. To deserve, you have to SERVE. Point. Blank. Period. Most people don’t deserve great lives. Most people are what I like to call The Walking Dead…roaming around aimlessly in life with no purpose, no self-worth, no gratitude, and no care for the person next to them. To deserve your great life you have to be happy AND fulfilled. To deserve your great life you have to serve yourself AND others.
Now you can choose to be happy (serve yourself) and not be fulfilled (serve others). You can still feel pleasure and enjoyment in your life. The problem is there tends to be a feeling of emptiness and deep longing that accompanies it. Think of it like eating a hot dog.
Consider happiness the hotdog and fulfillment the mustard (or in my case ketchup). Now we all know we are capable of eating a plain hotdog by itself but we sure as heck wouldn’t want to. Why? Because it tastes 100% better with mustard! Or ketchup. You see they’re complementary goods; they can stand alone but are so much tastier when put together (who would dare eat just mustard or ketchup solo?). That’s what happiness and fulfillment are, complementary states of being. To fully deserve your great life, you need them both.
Simply existing means you deserve a life, yes. It does not, however, mean you deserve a great life. You deserve the life you choose to have. You deserve the life you have now. If you are unhappy and unfulfilled, you deserve that. It means you are not doing the things you are supposed to do to be happy and fulfilled; it means you are not serving yourself and others.
I want to add on to what Oprah said. I say existing gives us the opportunity to deserve a great life. It’s our choice if we want to or not. For me, it’s a necessity. I want to wake up each day with the intention of being good to myself and to others – I like to believe I’m “alright” at it now, but I want to be SO MUCH BETTER..."alright" doesn't cut it. I want to be immersed in a perpetual state of gratitude and generosity. I want to honor the God who created me. I want to fully deserve my great life. I believe if more of us deserved great lives this world would be a greater place to live in. We wouldn’t have so much heartache, loneliness, depression, suicide, strife, war, and wickedness. Those are all symptoms of unhappy, undeserving lives. We would have so much joy, peace, harmony, hope, empathy, gratitude, and generosity instead. These are all symptoms of great, deserving lives. And that’s the world I want to live in. That’s the world I am determined to create.
So that’s the purpose - my purpose -that this blog will serve. This will be a community where people that have the same WHY – to deserve our great lives and help others deserve theirs – can come together to learn the HOW of the matter. I will post information I have learned, am still learning, and will continue to learn about living greatly and deserving a great life. I welcome all your insightful comments and tips on living greatly; this is a community and it will take all our voices to keep it as one.
We will be informed, inspired, and strengthened by this blog to get up each day and live greatly in our homes, at work, with friends, by ourselves and even at random places like the grocery store…with random strangers we just meet. If this sounds like the place for you, stick around! There is so much more to come. Subscribe...Share...Leave a comment down below; what's your why? If it does not, that’s okay; I still thank you for visiting:)
Note: My desire to inform you about Simon Sinek and his ideas are 100% due to personal choice and I receive NO payment for it...I just love the man!