How many times have we heard these statements?
- The best way to be successful is to help make others successful
- The more you do for others, the more you will be happy
- If you can’t give money, give your service
We are speaking about volunteering. The benefits of volunteering are immense. By providing our time to a worthy cause, we are not only helping those in need but also helping ourselves both in the short and long term. By performing selfless activities for a cause or a community, we steadily work towards decreasing the dominance of ego and selfishness in our lives. We live in a world where we are usually brought up with the mentality of, ‘What’s in it for me?’. By giving one’s heart and soul, time and efforts, a volunteer can feel great levels of satisfaction because nothing is expected in return – a very noble and high level of consciousness to have.
There are many other benefits to volunteering such as:
- Making new friends
- Learning a new skill
- Understanding our community better
- Attending to the dire situation of those in need
- Being thankful for what we have
- Keeping our minds stimulated
- Developing a greater sense of purpose
- Overcoming stress and anxiety
- Keeping healthy as we stay physically active and not stuck in front of a TV or video games
- Learning how to manage our time better
Volunteering has great benefits for both the performer and the community you are serving – our hearts are cleansed, we become free from material attachments, we develop a loving relationship with one and all.
I want to be famous by being selfless!
When volunteering, we must have a proper mindset – means we don’t engage in it with ulterior motives or material desires. Examples of such motives could be: If I do this volunteering work, I shall be recognised by one and all or win an award, get my name on the local newspaper, I will impress my friends and well-wishers or even pious thoughts like higher powers will bless me with more riches if i give more. Our world is currently in a dangerous state of TAKING and less GIVING. To put it in other words, we are giving so that we can take something later.
All our actions should be focused on doing a greater good for someone else. This unselfish thought will shine through your persona and inspire all those around you to do the same! There is always some beauty in those who have renounced everything and still living amongst us. Renounce doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all your material possessions. When you have everything but are not attached to the results/happiness they bring for you, you are renounced. It’s an art or a skill, that very tiny number of people have mastered. By now, most of know that things, happiness, sadness, people, work etc. all come and go. This is a clear indication that nothing is going to stay with us for a long time. Hence, why not use such things to benefit others, besides just you?
What can I do
You can volunteer in 3 ways:
> By your wealth (donations)
> By using your body (physical work)
> By using your mind (counselling)
Every month when we get paid, a percentage can be paid to a charity or an NGO. Based on your circumstance, give whatever you can. Every amount helps. Recently, a very close friend of mine and mentor was admitted to a hospital in the UK when he suffered a terrible abdominal illness. The hospital bill quickly rose to over $15,000 and with no insurance, there was no way he could pay the bill. However, hundreds of his friends, colleagues and family pitched amounts ranging from $5 to $250, and within 24 hrs the bill was paid! He is recovering now and he was touched by everyone’s love. You may even contribute to help out an entrepreneur. Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos was initially helped by his parents to start Amazon. I believe the same happened with Mark Zuckerberg too, for his Facebook initiative. That’s just cases of parents helping out their kids but there are many instances where a stranger has believed in the dreams of a startup and was willing to invest to help them out. Do you know of any examples?
If giving money is not enough but you want to do more, great! Perhaps do something for the community you are supporting. This could be driving a car for them, delivering groceries, building a fence, gardening, painting – whatever! Using your body to help someone else is a great act of service. Think about the respect we give to those valiant souls like nurses, fire fighters and our soldiers.
If money and personal help is motivating you to do even more or perhaps you are not able to help money-wise or physically, then why not provide ideas to help that organisation grow. You can develop workflows, marketing strategies, donation schemes and expansion plans for them. You could sit on their planning committee and steer them to greater success for generations to come. Teaching the members of the community you support a particular skill is also a great way to help.
So, there you go! Doesn’t it sound great to be a change you want to see in the world? Ofcourse it does. This has always been the strength in humans – to help others, to be compassionate and to be selfless. If we can’t practice these basic values, then what is the benefit of having a human life? You get what I mean. I hope this article helps you in a little to get inspired to take up a volunteering service somewhere and sometime. All the best! If you are in an activity of this kind, please let me know in the comments!
I initially wrote an article on Volunteerism for a community I am supporting. It was written specific to the members there. I have adapted the article here for my blog 🙂