"When you give birth in your mind to the idea of compassion, it’s because you realize that you yourself, and your pains, your pleasures, are finally too small a theater for your intelligence. Bob Thurman

While on the path of personal development one inevitably comes to the point where living for one’s self just seems too menial. This can happen at any age, but at a certain point you see that constantly focusing on YOUR concerns, trying to focus on YOUR problems becomes an insult to your existence. It becomes too small, too selfish and too difficult a mode of living.

When you reach this point in your journey you immediately re-assess the way you spend your life. Your goals extend outward to benefit others. Your concerns are focused on those around you. You act for the well-being of others as opposed to yourself.

Along with this paradigm shift comes great lifestyle change. A man whose purpose now becomes serving others will not feel fulfilled in a job that does not allow him to do so. When you have a great enough “why” it becomes paramount that you are able to exercise that why in your “what” – your job. Without a means of expressing this new found purpose, cognitive dissonance sets in. You become torn between the life you lead and the life you want to lead. Upon reaching this impasse a man is left with 2 choices:

1. Change his philosophy

2. Change his Activity.

Choice 1 is a fool’s errand. You have come to this mindset with the force of a lifetime of cultivation. You may be burdened by this overwhelming purpose, but simply burying it down and returning back to your formal mode of living will do you no good. There are certain fires that just can’t be extinguished.

Choice 2 is the difficult path, but the right one. The right road is often the most adversarial. When you realize that you can no longer hide from your “why”, there is nothing left to do but change the “what” through which you express it. This is painful as it requires branching out of one’s comfort zone toward new horizons. This choice is filled with uncertainty and often public scrutiny, but the fact of the matter is that this is not even a choice. You no longer have a choice. This is something you have to do for yourself and for others. We must remember one major idea:

Jesus was not a carpenter forever.

Regardless of your faith, whether you believe Jesus to be a god, a man or a story– the fact remains the same. Jesus was not a carpenter forever. He was called by a higher purpose to leave the life he had built in pursuit of a more meaningful existence. Many of us hear this calling in our own lives, and we must not shy from it. As Marianne Williamson famously said, “Your playing small does not serve the world.”

The major obstacle for most of us in forgoing the life we lead in pursuit of a greater calling is confidence. We all hear that voice in the back of our head telling us that we are not good enough to make such a change, that we are not deserving, that we will fail. On some level we all struggle with self-confidence. My life changed when I made one simple realization.

By listening to that voice in our heads, we are actively choosing to value our insecurities over the benefit of our fellow man. We are choosing to despise ourselves over loving others. We are choosing fear instead of love. When I truly came to terms with this concept, I realized I could no longer “play small.” Not only is it a disservice to myself, but more importantly it is a disservice to all those I could potentially serve.

I never had a formal education in religion, but I believe if there is a devil it is not a fiery red man with a pitchfork who resides in hell. I believe the devil exists in those little, seemingly unnoticeable moments when we choose to value our own insecurities over the service of others.

When we choose to ignore someone on the street. When we see someone who can use a hand and we look the other way. When we can contribute in any way, but remain silent due to our own self image. Simply put – when we choose fear instead of love. I believe this is that negative force we so often label the “devil”.

Jesus was not a carpenter forever. We all use different vehicle to go down this road of life. As our purpose changes so must our vehicles. If you are called to a higher purpose in the service of others, regardless of your own insecurities it is your obligation to act. If not for yourself, do it for others.

Spark Your Growth

I implore you to take an introspective look at your life. Do your actions coincide with your beliefs? Are you allowing your "why" to be transmuted through your "what"?

The vast majority of our time is occupied by our jobs. At the very least the prime hours of Monday through Friday are spent in work. If your occupation allows you to express your beliefs then you will most assuredly feel as though you do not work in the first place. I constantly remind my friends that I do not work! I teach jiu jitsu. There is a vast difference.

If you find that you are called by something greater, but your work is not a means of expressing this I urge you to take the necessary steps to transition to a job with more fulfillment. You owe it to the world to express your purpose through your occupation.

When you remember that not only does staying in a less than satisfying job lessen your existence, but is a direct disservice to the community as a whole, you no longer have a choice but to make changes.

Life is always easier when lived for others, and living for others is the best way I know to live for yourself.