Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life

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Over the weekend, I love to sit back -- and ask myself: why am I really in business? During these times, I'm always struck by JetBlue's David Neeleman on what he really lives for (as quoted in the Harvard Business Review):
Living in the favelas, a few things struck me. The first was that most wealthy people had a huge sense of entitlement. They thought they were better than the people in the slums -- and this rubbed me the wrong way. The second was that the poor people I met seemed happier than the rich, and they were also incredibly generous in sharing what little they had. And the third -- and most striking -- thing was that I was actually much happier, too. Objectively, this made no sense. I was a young guy, far away from my family, only allowed to write letters home once a week and call home twice a year. In that situation, I should've been miserable. But I wasn't because I got enormous pleasure and satisfaction from my work. When my time in Brazil was up, I went for my exit interview, and the interviewer said something I've never forgotten. "David," he told me, "when you go back to your life in the U.S., everything you do will be for you. You'll be in school for yourself, earning money for yourself, and so on. And you're never going to be as content as you were here unless you feel like you're serving -- like you're helping other people." That nugget of wisdom was incredibly powerful: It resonated with me then, and it continues to resonate with me today.
I truly believe that humans are built to look outward. And when they do serve others, happiness is right around the corner.

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Posted on March 26

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