One of my favorite movies is It’s A Wonderful Life. The main character George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, has dreams of leaving his small town and conquering the world. His desires for wealth and adventure, however, are consistently sacrificed in order to help people in need. As the years go by he puts himself second for everyone else. The fruit of his selflessness is on full display at the end as a multitude of people lovingly gather to help him when he finds himself in trouble.
There’s no nobler act than being selfless by putting your own needs and desires second to someone else. It’s truly a way to give love to the world and it’s best to start with our families. Here are a few ideas to consider as you place yourself on the path to second place.
1. Acknowledge Your Own Selfishness
The more selfish you are, the less you realize it. Start with understanding and acknowledging your own self-centeredness. Just like anything else, if you strive to be something, it takes training and practice. In everything you do, think, and feel evaluate your motives. Ask yourself: Is my motivation for myself or others?
2. Consider What the Other Person Is Going Through
Everyone has pain and we have an opportunity to bring healing if we look for it.A friend recently told me about a grocery store check out woman who was being short with everyone. Instead of getting upset she asked the woman if she was okay. The woman started crying and explained how her daughter had just passed away. Keep your eyes open to the suffering of others. Everyone has pain and we have an opportunity to bring healing if we look for it.
3. Assume the Good Intent of Others
Many people feel like it is them against the world. This mentality gives us a defensive posture because we fear being taken advantage of or ripped off. We end up spending all of the time protecting our personal kingdom rather than giving to others. I’d rather be ripped off than miss giving someone the care they desperately need.
4. Take What You Need and Leave the Rest
We are a consumer society. However, if we returned to this simple principle, how much better could the world be for all of us. Consume less, be content with what you have, and give more.
How much of our lives do we waste brooding over useless grudges? These thoughts literally eat at our insides. Forgive and let it go. It frees us up to think of the needs of others rather than our own pain.
6. Practice Healthy Habits
Our wives, our children, our friends, and our business partners depend on us daily. That requires our health and mental clarity. It is easy to consider health our own business. However, our loved ones need us here for as long as possible, so let’s have the discipline to be healthy.
7. Give Others The Glory
Don’t be a glory seeker. Instead, give it away. Speak well of people and give them credit when it’s due. Give the people in your life the encouraging words you’d like to receive.
8. Help Others Reach Their Potential
Help others develop to reach their maximum potential. Let their growth and success be your reward. Strong leaders are ones who help others achieve their dreams.
9. Find Contentment
Find contentment in where you are and what you have. Rather than envy others who may have more, congratulate them.
10. Make Your Life About Relationships
Ask any human on their deathbed what true wealth is, and they will undoubtedly tell you it is relationships.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it means to put yourself second?”