On the steps by Lakeside Chalet, near Lake Merritt, there are words written on the ground:
“SERVICE ABOVE SELF”
When I walk by these words, it’s a reminder that service to others is one of the highest ‘good’ endeavors we can accomplish with our life. Since resigning from my job in the tech industry, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with new people that never would have crossed my path were I to have stayed behind a computer screen. These past few months have recharged me and helped gain additional insight as I prepare to re-enter the tech workforce.
In San Francisco, there’s a major divide between the haves and the have-nots. There are many reasons for this, from gentrification to the rarified air bubble many high-profile “appsters” live in that views people as ‘users’ and not human beings. In a data-driven world, this is bound to happen. And I’ve even caught myself guilty of the same misrepresentation.
What I have found to be the case is that even in the appster world, there’s a sincere desire for connection with others. And many of us will go through great lengths to discover an authentic connection with others, from the halls of consciousness hacking groups to underground dance floors that erupt until dawn.
I’ve come across a common thread:
People want to be seen, heard, understood, and respected as a priority.
I read a quote from a book that said “you can read a book or tell somebody you’re reading a book. But you can’t do both at the same time.”
Unpacking that statement, the path to authentic connection is through service of others. beyond your own wants. I say “wants” because for most of us, our needs are already met. Food, water, shelter. Everything else is just a bonus.
In order for others to be heard, somebody has to be willing to take the first step and STFU. Urban Dictionary: LINK
A great exercise to test your listening ability is to be prepared, at any time in a conversation, to repeat back to the other person the last words they said. Read that again, please.
Being ‘present’ means much more than standing across space from somebody else in presence. It also means to be present in your mind. When all you are thinking about is the next line-item in your mind, can you really, really hear somebody else when they are speaking?
In Psalm 100, the bible tells reader to ‘serve the LORD’ with gladness. Later, Jesus states “what you do the the least of these, you do to me.”
Regardless of your religious stance, we can unpack something really simple from this idea: what you do for others is an indirect reflection of what you will receive for yourself.
The past few months have afforded me the opportunity to connect with some really incredible people, through listening, fanning, and even through massage. It has been through serving others that I have found a deep connection with joy and love.
As I prepare to re-enter the tech workforce, I feel refreshed and grounded with the proper perspective needed to serve others in all aspects of life; in and outside of a computer screen.
I would encourage you to seek the same for yourself. Take some still moments to inquire as to what your heart is searching for, and ask yourself if you are giving freely of that to others.
The more you give, the more you will discover a limitless resource of love. When you stand under a waterfall, you can’t help but get drenched in the downfall. Be the waterfall for others.