This is basically the result of a conversation I had “in my head” doing some boring tasks today.
I believe that the first thought anyone should have in the morning – well maybe not the first one, but certainly one of the first – is this:
What can I do today to improve this world? What can I do to make this world a better place? What can I do so that when I leave, I did my little bit to improve life for all of us?
I believe we come to this life and to this wonderful planet with a purpose. That purpose certainly isn't to go lease a bigger car than you could actually afford (to impress whoever you want to impress) and to finance a bigger TV than you can actually afford (to impress yourself and pat yourself on the back for…. well, having that big TV you can't really afford?)
I believe this purpose is to make the most out of what we've been given, with a greater goal in mind that is not connected to oneself.
Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against a good scoop of hedonism. Heck, go for it! If you work hard to make things happen, I see nothing wrong in rewarding yourself with whatever toy you feel would make you happy, or whatever thing you feel like doing.
Quite the opposite – this will keep you going, and this will make you work even harder – and eventually, you'll be able to help more.
(I remember following a discussion a few years back between somebody who was all for reaching the greatest possible income, while his opponent in the discussion was proud on “earning as little as possible” and focusing on “helping more”. Well, I'm sorry, but if you earn 25k a year and hardly make ends meet, you'll not be able to help much, really. Of course, there's your time and goodwill and whatever. But if you earn BIG money – you'll not only be able to GIVE more, but you'll be able to leverage that money, to grow your ideas with the help of other people etc.).
Here's another argument I want to invalidate:
Your basic needs always need to come first. You can't focus on … well, pretty much can't focus on ANYTHING if you can't feed yourself, or your family. If someone is in that position, OF COURSE, the first priority is getting out of there. A starved Saint is no good to this world, right?
But once you've reached a certain level – well, I don't want to tell you what to do, but here's what I've experienced:
“The Universe” or whatever you might call it has set in place a rewarding mechanism for “giving”.
Once you start focusing less on yourself and more on how to improve other people's life – you'll be covered, by Karma or whatever. I even believe that the rewards you get once you shift your focus away from yourself are much bigger than anything you'd receive if you'd just focus on yourself.
I don't mean to use that “law” or whatever you might call it in a calculated way; you can't “give to receive”. But if you give because you WANT to give, and that is all you care – you're covered.