The Most Liberating Change We Can Make in Life

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The Most Liberating Change We Can Make in Life

A nurse was showing a patient to his room. “Now,” she said, “we want you to be happy and enjoy yourself while here, so if there is anything you want that we haven’t got, let me know and I’ll show you how to get along without it.”


n my book “Turn Your Setback into Major Comeback”, I take time to explain the 4 phases of a crisis in life. There is this phase where the crisis has developed to what you greatly feared. You had tried to do everything to avert it but you could not manage. Now the setback is a reality. What do you do?

In that book, I explain the heart of the person that is “going through”. For the most part, this person is among other things,

  • Compassionate,
  • Broken and contrite
  • Very reflective
  • Very understanding of others who are also “going through” 
  • Having a learning spirit and heart
  • Yearning for another chance to make it right in their lives

The Power of Simplicity In Life

Perhaps, the greatest realization for such a one is the simplicity of life. Previously, they would never want to do without say, sausages for breakfast. However, right now they are so thankful for a simple meal just to quiet the pangs of hunger. They realize that the complicated life that is the object of the desire of millions, keeping them awake and frustrated in order to attain it can actually be forfeited.

In other words this kind of person has learnt (or rather has been forced by life to learn) one of the greatest, most noble trait of humanity: selflessness. That is a simple word yet in my estimation, it is the most profound trait a noble human being can have.

We live in a world that peddles selfishness and at the same time shoves away selflessness as if it is for selected few religious people. Look at the way we live our lives.

  • What we purchase daily vs what we give away
  • How much time we spend with others as compared to that we spend (uselessly) alone
  • How much “things” we keep amassing as compared to giving away
  • How fearful we are about the lack of tomorrow that we forget all decency in acquiring today

The Liberating Change

The most incredible change we can make in your lives today is the choice of being absolutely selfless. We live not in moments, but we live in years. Let me explain. The simplicity of life is the ability to enjoy this day to the fullest and let tomorrow’s sorrows rest there. What we do though is to bring our perceived misfortunes, sorrows, hangups and failures of tomorrow and we start having a funeral for them today. Why do we do that? Because at the heart level, we have not learnt to be selfless.

Now, don’t get me wrong: being selfless is not necessarily the magic bullet that paves all our roads and make all things beautiful at once. No, life and this fallen black world will remain with the same nature it has and will require us to obey the same rules, systems and principles.

Don’t think too that a life of selflessness is laid back, unambitious, uneventful and unexciting. You would be wrong.

  • Ask Oprah what her greatest achievement in life is so far (it would be directly linked to her selflessness)
  • Ask any great soul both in our generation and even in the past about what brings to them the greatest satisfaction. Not surprisingly, none of them will mention their personal achievements or acquisitions. They will all cherish the fact that what opportunities they were bequeathed with in life, they used them selflessly to bless other people.


The greatest gain that selflessness brings is internal power packed energy that is fueled with so much joy and satisfaction. You want to see a joyous man or woman? They derive their joy not from getting but from selfless giving of self and resources to help others. One word for it? Fulfillment.

What we are saying in short is this: if we flipped the mode in which we drive our lives daily, we would be astounded at how clear the betterment of life becomes. The beauty is that we get to use what is in our disposal in terms of time, resources and talents to do something good to someone daily. [ictt-tweet-inline]I think the greatest contribution you and I can ever make in life is to put a smile on a stranger’s heart.[/ictt-tweet-inline]

Other Benefits of Selflessness

  1. Contribution: One of our psychological needs is that we can contribute. It is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life. Legacy is built on contribution. The depth of our contribution is determined by the degree of our selflessness which in turn dictates the kind of legacy we shall have.
  2. Freedom: If you look carefully, our pursuits have made us slaves to objects, projects, acquisitions and competitions to prove that we are of value. We look for difference in the wrong places. With selflessness, you are freed from all these. Maybe it explains why the “billionaires” of this world do not dress to impress…maybe.
  3. Spiritual Depth: I will always say that the height of any success is being able to contribute positively to others. Otherwise, your so called success is futile and you will know it on your death bed. Selflessness does not care how much you have or not have. Anyone can be selfless…and of those who choose to be, they are the deepest spiritual people you ever met.
  4. Eternal Treasure: Upon his death, a “wealthy” man was buried in a Hummer, literally. Well, him and the Hummer will both rust. However, his actions of selflessness if any, will never be forgotten for eternity.

Practical Ways of Becoming Selfless

How great would it be if we started being selfless today. How greater would it be if we already are but get to start enhancing our selflessness. The following are simple but practical ways you can use to be selfless.

1. Take stock of what you have/own:

Even God would ask you what you had in your hands before using you to deliver the world. This seems simple but it is a very profound excercise.  You would be amazed at how many people have no clue of “what they have” in terms of their resources, gifts, talents, dreams and visions. Start by clarifying this and on it’s list, add what breaks your heart.

2. Be Intentional

Selflessness is a personal push. Few souls that I know of are selfless. Why? Because I think inherently, we are selfish. We think “me” all the time. To be intentional is to put the pain of others around you in perspective. Look at your stock and see what can be used to help someone else. Make it a habit. Now, being selfless does not mean only looking at the disadvantaged…there are those who are OK but lack just one insight that could propel them to be even greater.

3. Focus on Feeling the weight

Well, I know you have seen people who give out used clothes on Easter and Christmas. I will never forget the day I saw a committed church member years ago. His shoes were a pathetic sight. I had it in my mind to purchase for him a new pair of shoes….but I let the inertia of comfort win the battle over selflessness. I missed my chance. Anyway, let’s go out of our way and really be selfless in a world class way. Things like taking your house help’s child to school…paying rent or utility bills for a struggling neighbor and so on. Be creative.

4. Champion Honesty

Selfishness is the breeding ground for dishonesty and many other vices in society. If you are a Christian and you know you need to tithe, it is the first opportunity for you to be selfless. Trust God and tithe. Trust God and give an offering. Don’t cheat your customers by giving them substandard work or products for a high price. Don’t steal a single cent from anyone. If it does not belong to you, don’t take it. Don’t own it unless you earned it. This should actually be the first step towards a life of selflessness.

5. Anonymous is the exhilarating part

Not letting the right hand know what the left is doing…is the mode that Jesus championed. You have probably seen those sorry souls who take foodstuffs to orphans then paste photos all over social media. “Believe me, they have already received their rewards”. [ictt-tweet-inline]How great would it be if you walked into a school and anonymously paid off the school fees for a child that you would probably never meet whose parents are struggling with fees?[/ictt-tweet-inline]

Remember, you don’t have to have a selfless heart to get started, but you get started and the selfless heart grows in you. Let’s do this in this year!