Monday, April 16, 2012

The Measure of Success

The Question(compliments of Susanna):

Hypothetically, a credible authority from the universe reveals that the meaning of life is one big talent show. Success is measured not by $$, but the extent to which your contributions to society actually increase the quality of life for others. If the reward for winning was truly exquisite, how would this revelation change your game plan? How would you change your goals and objectives if you were being judged based on how you make the world a better place (increase the quality of life for others)?

The first thing I thought when I read this question was, "This would be an awesome world to live in!"

I, however, live my life serving the community around me through various volunteer work so such a world, such a concept, just further supports my beliefs about helping others in an effort to create a better society. My vast participation in volunteerism is nothing new. Aside from a gap in time after I moved back to the Chicagoland area, I have always been involved in some sort of volunteer work. Even my internship during college was at a non-profit Maternity Home/Adoption agency in their Public Information department. Actually it was this internship that made me realize that I was never going to make "big bucks" in my career should I actually be able to land at a non-profit like I really wanted too. However, that didn't bother me at all. Ultimately, helping others was far more important to me. Furthermore, those I call my friends and family also embody the same belief that helping others is important and contribute in their own ways.

I've never worked for a non-profit like I wanted to, so I volunteer my time instead in various capacities -- Marketing, Human Resources and participating in various activities such as delivering food for Pesach to individuals who can't afford it on their own otherwise. Sure, I could donate money, but personally sometime I believe my time is more valuable to the organizations, and I feel I can make a greater impact that way vs. writing a check.

It was during one of this random volunteer activities that I learned something disturbing. It started when I was commended for driving over an hour to help out. (Honestly, I didn't think anything of it. The activity was something I wanted to do and the cost of gas was negligible to me.) When I asked my friend who I was there with why it was such a big deal that I had traveled so far, it was explained to me that the kids that were helping were there only to get "community service points" and their parents were only there to show their kids the importance of volunteering. Or in other words, the kids wouldn't have been there if they didn't need these point and the adult wouldn't have been either if they hadn't wanted to be a good example for their kids. (Or at least that is what I got from it.)

All this made me wonder WHAT would it take to make volunteering and dedicating ones times towards bettering our society more appealing, and making. Maybe it would take restructuring our world into one that rewards you monetarily for increasing the quality of others to get there. With that in mind, I say that with a bit of sadness as I've personally found helping others through improve their quality of life much more rewarding than any monetary payment I've gotten for working. Sure, we need money to live and having more rather than less does make us more comfortable; however, I found that this is not entirely to be the key to overall happiness and success in life.

I'm not sure if I've answered Susanna's question. (This all just seems like a lot of rambling on my part about my volunteer experiences.) I just know that I believe the world would be a much better place if people would focus more on increasing the quality of life for others. Yes, it is important to think of ones self as well, but I think a majority of our society has adopted that idea to an extreme.

Now that you've read my thoughts on the Thursday Blog Project topic, please take a moment to read what my fellow group members have to say:

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

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