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If you are passionate about children, for example, find an organization that helps them.If you want to work directly with children, make sure to do that.It’s easier than ever to find ways to be of service. Once again, I’ll make a positive stereotype by saying that we, the readers of this blog, are enlightened individuals.
Helping our fellow man has long been seen as an altruistic behavioral model.
But it turns out that more selfish motives—pleasing friends, doing what you want—are more successful causes of effective volunteering.
Volunteering is also a great tool in the fight against depression because it’s easier to temporarily forget about your own problems when you shift your focus to helping others.
After a recent speaking engagement, a woman came to me and said, “I’m recently widowed, I’m retiring soon, and I hope to implement some of your ideas to be happier. You’ve probably read about families who’ve been impacted by certain diseases and created a charity to help cure those diseases.
At the same time, it’s good to jump in with a “just do it” spirit.
Making a commitment may be the best way to make volunteering a part of your busy schedule.My big challenge is what I’m going to do with my time.” I told her to commit some time to volunteering—that it would get her out with other people, which would help her well-being, and that she’d enjoy the gratification that comes from helping others. Those families are passionate about finding a cure.They want something good to come out of their tragic loss, in memory of their beloved family member.Are there particular causes that are important to you?You need to be happy with what you’re doing and to work in an area where you have ability.For those kids, adult involvement in community service will come naturally. When I was starting my career, I remember hoping to one day be wealthy so that I could donate huge amounts to charitable organizations.Fortunately, rather than waiting for “someday” to come, I learned how much of a difference I could make by to good causes and people in need.If you’d rather work behind the scenes, and your skills go in that direction, follow that instinct.If you are not happy, don’t be reluctant to make a change. You will be of greatest service to the world if you spend time doing things you enjoy, that you are good at.Otherwise, you’re likely to say, “I would love to, but I’m too busy.” For example, this spring I committed to a program to play baseball every Saturday morning with kids with special needs.Because I made the commitment, I made it work in my schedule.