Self-reflection is one the of pillars of the GentlemenProject. Therefore, I have spent some time reflecting on my 12 days of selfless Christmas project. Initially I focused on how blessed I am to be in a position where I can focus on giving back to others; my time, financially, and emotionally. I feel blessed that I don’t have to worry about having a roof over my head, where my next meal is going to come from, or worry about the safety of my life. While typing the previous sentence it reminded me of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The basic idea of this hierarchy is that as the most basic of human needs are taken care of we’re able to focus our thoughts, energy, and time on becoming our best-selves and helping others.
Additionally, my self-reflection provided me with three main takeaways; the importance of donating food/clothes, the necessity of being intentional about finding people or a cause to support, and the only way we lift ourselves is by lifting others. I’ll briefly break down each of these takeaways, and how I plan to continue with these actions in 2017. (wow I cannot believe it’s only 1 day away)
Donating Food and Clothing
As Americans the world which we live in is full of overconsumption, materialism, and an overall selfish attitude. A study found that on average, the American family of 4 will waste between $1365 and $2275 in food per year (Source 1). A 2016 study found that Americans wasted 80 billion pounds of food every year (Source 2). Now let’s transition over to clothing. A recent documentary and 2015 study found that the average American throws out 82 pounds of textile waste annually (Source 3). Textile waste does not directly mean clothing, however clothing is a part of this waste. These are substantial numbers which we can impact. I came to two conclusions.
- I commit to being more conscious of what food and clothing I’m purchasing.
- This will inherently create less food and textile waste
- When I need to rid of food or clothes I will ask myself these questions before I act…
- Who can benefit from this item I’m going to simply disregard as trash and have it go to a landfill?
- What actions do I need to take to get these particular item to an individual in need?
Human beings are creatures of nature. If you want proof of this spark up a conversation with anyone that you know who has experienced great success in any walk of life. This is exemplified by the olympic athletes. They are the best in the world at their particular sport, and if you speak with any of them what they’ll tell you is that habits, routines, and dedication is what helped them achieve this level of excellence. COH (Psychology Today) I’m sure that you’ve heard it takes 21 days to form a habit. MYTHBUSTER: This is not true (How to Form a Habit). I’m going to use my genetic predisposition to habitual actions to become more selfless.
- I will set a weekly goal for the number of overt and intentional selfless acts.
- Conduct research on the largest need for support in DFW
- I will work with my wife and friends to provide support to those in need
Lifting Those Closest to You
I feel that as a society we place a lot of value on volunteering to help others that are less fortunate and in desperate need. It is crucial that we continue to help these people. However, it’s just as important that we lift up those that are closest to us by serving them. I know that it can be difficult to serve your friends and family, especially after you’ve spent so much time serve those in need. Upon reflection, the opposite was true for me. When I served those in need I wanted to continue this trend of serving. I would come home and be interested in serving my wife, or doing more to serve my workgroup peers. It’s critical not to lose your servant heart and forget about those who are closest to you. It’s their support that allows you to follow through on your volunteering and support of those in need. Please don’t steal from Peter to pay Paul. This is not the heart of a true servant.
- I will end my work and personal conversations by asking. What can I do to help you with (insert item)?
- I will be hyper-vigilant with regards to lifting up others for their good deed
The 12 days of selfless Christmas was a great way to inject this Christmas Season with a larger sense of purpose, highlight the true meaning of Christmas, and help spread Christmas cheer. I know that this project provided me with so much more than I was able to provide others. This will be something that I will do again next year, and look for different ways to elevate the selfless spirit of Christmas and impact even more people.
I appreciate your time in reading! I encourage any comments, questions, or concerns! Happy trails!