Become a one-person service organisation

Find ways to help others today, and you should experience a mood lift tomorrow.
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The very first time I visited California I was 22, and it was around this time of year that I landed at San Francisco airport after my first-ever flight – on a Pan-Am 747 – to be met by Harold Knopp, a member of Oakland Rotary Club who’d agreed to act as my “guardian” during the year in which I studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Rotary International had generously awarded me a scholarship for a full year of graphic design study, which I’d otherwise have never been able to afford. I competed for this award against plenty of other well-qualified applicants, then was fortunate enough to be selected after a final nerve-wracking interview.

Rotary’s money paid for everything from my return flight to my day-to-day living expenses and tuition fees. I couldn’t have asked for more.

The same must be said for Harold and his wife Ruth who helped me settle in, find a place to live after I’d stayed with them for my first couple of weeks, and then opened their arms to me on family days such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One way and another I had a fair amount to do with Rotary during my scholarship year, as the one real expectation of me was that I’d speak at a few of the Bay Area clubs’ lunch meetings, which I enjoyed and learned from. Among other things they taught me to eat a meal at the speed of light. You don’t want your tummy to be rumbling when you step up to the microphone, right?

Rotary started life in Chicago in 1905, and currently has over a million members worldwide. Although it was originally designed as a business networking club, it soon re-defined itself as a service organisation. In fact Rotary’s motto is “Service above self”.

And that’s a pretty enriching philosophy when you think about it, isn’t it? Not just for an organisation, but for the likes of you and me too, maybe.

For there’s no doubt that doing things for others is a wonderful win-win approach to life. Not only will others generally appreciate your assistance, but helping people is also inclined to fire up your brain’s reward circuits. Humans are hard-wired to get a kick out of altruistic behaviour.

I think life can be altogether more meaningful when you take a little time to do your bit to help.

So why not be lavishly generous with your offers of help today? Don’t wait to be asked. Seek out opportunities to support and assist whoever you can, in any way possible. Your reward? Almost certainly a mood-boost.

Perhaps you’ll be your own one-person service organisation today, and of course if we all do so – well, what a better world we’ll be living in.

Service above self?

2 thoughts on “Become a one-person service organisation

  1. Thanks for this post this reminds me of the power of WE when two or more individuals connect rather than the lack of power that comes when I think only of self

  2. What a kick of nostalgia, Jon! I arrived in Berkeley/Oakland at 22 (1982) and then lived a couple of blocks away from CCAC for 9 years. I can see why you’d want to be back in the Bay Area now!

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