Where do you find your own sense of belonging? Of purpose? Where do you find Transcendence? How do you formulate and tell your own story to others?
If the brains of altruistic people are different from those of others, can we each only be as altruistic as our brain biology allows? Is altruism purely a physical gift?
In her talk, Abigail Marsh defines altruism as “a selfless act intended to benefit only the other.” If the outcome is the same, is there a difference between giving with the expectation of getting something in return (even a “thank you”) versus giving without the expectation of getting something in return?
Create a list of ‘acts of random kindness’ that you can perform, with no expectation of getting thanked. For example, pay for the order from car behind yours in the drive through lane, or pick up the paper towels from the floor of the public restroom (and wash your hands again) before you leave. Strive to perform at least one act per day, as invisibly as possible.
For a full day, make a concerted effort to meet everyone’s initial eye contact by smiling. If that goes well, continue it for another day. Repeat.
Make a list of the gifts that you have to offer to others. What resources, availability, knowledge, and skills can you afford to ‘give away’? Who could benefit from those gifts? How can you and those that could benefit get together so you can share those gifts?
Living a meaningful life takes work. It’s an ongoing process. As each day goes by, we’re constantly creating our lives, adding to our story. And sometimes we can get off track. — Emily Espahani Smith