Survival > Growth > Contribution - The path to freedom Part 3 : Becoming the guideApr 11, 2023
This is part 3 of a 3 part series exploring the evolution of "problems" as we move from survival, to growth, to contribution.
Shouldn't we try to avoid problems?
Nope. We just need to outgrow/become bigger than the problems we're facing.
Let's be clear. All of life is comprised of the entire spectrum of problems. They never go away. We just gain more freedom (and usually more happiness) the more we learn to tackle bigger and better problems. In other words "problems of contribution."
The first step to moving beyond problems of survival and out of captivity is to take responsibility for everything in our lives. Whether it's our fault or not, we can only be free when we fully accept our situation as it is and choose a new response.
The next step is a mental and emotional shift from egocentric to altruistic. In other words, helping others solve their problems of survival and growth.
Problems of Contribution:
I once had a professor who emphatically tried to teach us about the correlation between happiness and money. Money can in fact help you be more happy.
To a certain point...
When you don't have enough money to take of basic needs, have enough to eat, clothes, shelter, etc. (aka problems of survival) having more money actually does contribute to your overall happiness. In fact the studies show that having enough to "solve" your problems of survival AND and a little more to help you pursue some of your passions, fuel personal growth, pursue interests, etc. ALSO contributes to your overall happiness.
However, once you start to go beyond that, having more things, more vacations, more money only result in a temporary "sugar high." A quick dopamine hit that levels off just as quickly as it came. Didn't matter if it was 20K or 2 million, more money didn't result in more happiness...
That money was then used to help others. When (or if) people start to use their "excess" money to help others grow and overcome their survival problems, then having more money did in fact increase people's happiness.
Freedom comes from self mastery and responsibility. Happiness comes from service and contribution.
No person is so endowed with time, talent and wealth that they can spend all of it on lifting everyone else's burdens. Like the oxygen on an airplane, we do in fact have to put our own mask on first if we want to be in a position to help others.
But much of the world (Including the self help/person growth industry) get stuck here. Indeed many people never realize that if they don't move onto "bigger" problems, that in their pursuit of more wealth, success, and "personal fulfillment" there will always be a hole. Always something missing. That with all their drive and passion and pursuing, if they don't move onto problems of contribution, it will never be enough...
No, the key to finding real happiness and purpose is to forget about ourselves long enough to love and lift another.
The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. - Gordon B. Hinckley
We wish you all the best in learning how to thrive and not just survive, how to be the hero of your own story, and how to ultimately become a mentor and a guide to those struggling behind you on the path of life.
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