What Do I Get Out Of It?

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You were not born into a life of servitude, of slavery and submission. No matter how fearsome your boss is, or demanding your role, you were not created to be subservient to it. If you choose to serve, that’s wonderful. If you choose to help others, then may you be successful in your endeavours. But there is a truth that so many of us miss:

We were not made to serve life, but life exists to serve us.

The system we operate in requires us to follow a set of rules – rules that are completely made up by man, in order that the system functions anywhere near effectively. Walk on the left, pay attention in class, keep quiet and stay out of trouble. But these rules aren’t for our benefit. Indeed, these rules are required to manage the sheer numbers of people who all need to get along side by side with each other.

It is a mistake if we become subservient to the system. It is an error to believe that we serve the rules. We are not here to serve our employers, our governments, the systems of culture that we find ourselves living in. It is only our dreams, our goals, our wellbeing and our betterment that we should be subservient too. In other words, we should love ourselves first, prioritise our needs, requirements and wishes, because if we do not we will continuously and gradually erode ourselves, until our power, our energy, our zest for life and our vim have be drained away by other causes.

Until we love ourselves first, we cannot love anyone else. Until we serve our own needs first, we cannot choose to serve anyone else’s. And it’s vital that we ask the following question when we enter into a new arrangement, such as a new job, arrangement or agreement:

“What do I get out of it?”

It’s all well and good wishing to do a good job, and be the best employee possible, but unless you get something back you will wither away. Unless you receive something that sustains you, makes you stronger and better, than there is an imbalance and you are feeding your energy into someone else’s plan.

To ask this question isn’t to be selfish, but is to value the quality of our lives before others. Yes, be a loyal employee, a hard worker, and a good citizen, but be those things as long as it continues to be in your best interest to do so. Because unless you look after yourself first, anything you do to help others will drain you. It will leave you disadvantaged.

Asking this question – “what do I get out of it?” – grows your power, makes you stronger, and leads you to a position where you are better able to act selflessly. It enables you to treat others as you would wish to be treated, without making yourself weaker. It’s not asking you to act in a way that disadvantages anyone else, but it is about engaging with life.

Only when we love ourselves can we truly love others. Only when we engage with life on our terms can we build the life we desire for ourselves and those around us. Only when we feed and nourish our inner hungers can we find the strength to be as good as we possibly can be.

It takes courage to ask that question. It asks you to be assertive. But it means that you will act out your own plan rather than fall into someone else’s. And this is your life you are living, after all.

What do I get out of this? It could be the question that changes everything.