Have you ever thought about how it is you want to be remembered when you leave this world? It’s not a dumb question to ask yourself, in fact, it’s probably one of more important questions you can ask. Do you for a minute believe that people will remember you because you drove an expensive sports car or lived in a huge house with a swimming pool?
The best and probably only way to leave your mark in this world is by what have you done for others, what difference you have made to the people whose paths you crossed. So how are you doing at that so far?
The great news is that it’s almost never too late to make an impact on someone’s life. And more great news is that you don’t have to be a millionaire or celebrity to do so. If you ask people to name those who have had a positive influence in their lives, chances are you won’t recognize their names.
There is no time better than now to ask ourselves the following questions:
Whom have we helped?
How are we of service to others?
How have we contributed to making the world a better place?
The fact is that we all have something to give regardless of our wealth or status in life. Often, our time and attention is the greatest gift we can give to others. We can mentor young people and help them to steer clear of the mistakes we have made. We can volunteer our time to people and organizations that need us. Be it a soup kitchen, a nursing home, or even an animal rescue shelter. And while we may not see our names on the news, the difference we can make in the lives of others is profound.
Yes, most people give simply to help others. But there are also “selfish” reasons for us to give as well – reasons that make us feel better about ourselves. Some people feel the need to give in order to make amends for past mistakes. You can never change your past, but you can help others to have a better present and future, thus helping to quell the guilt and regrets you carry.
We can also give to help us get through rough times. Sometimes helping other through tough times makes us feel better about ours. Often, we find out that what we are going through is really not so bad – not as bad as others have it. Doing this not only makes us feel better, but it forces us to take action.
Another good reason to give is to meet new people and make new friends. Volunteering for a charity or other organization can help us meet like-minded people who share our interests. For instance, volunteering for animal shelters can spark new friendships with other animal lovers.
With all the benefits of giving to others, why is it that more people don’t give?
Many people simply don’t give because they falsely believe that they have nothing to give. They believe that only the only way they can help people is monetarily. Others believe that they have no special talent that would be of value to others. What a sad and wrong belief. Everyone has something to offer! Often, the gift of your time and just being there are among the greatest gifts one can give.
Others believe that they simply don’t have time to give to others in the course of their already stacked schedule. The secret is to start small. We don’t have to volunteer hour upon hours a week, instead, we can start with a couple of hours a month. We can volunteer for a charitable event that takes place three or four times per year. But don’t be surprised that the more you begin to give of yourself, the more time you will find to do so.
Finally, when giving to others try to remember that you don’t have to save the entire world to make a difference. Even if you can help the people within your sphere of influence, you can change futures and lives. Very few people will remember you for the type of car you drove, watch you wore, or house you lived in. Instead, it will be the seemingly little things you did for people that will ultimately be your legacy.