The highest service we can perform for
others is to help them help themselves.

Horace Mann


It is high time the ideal of success should be replaced with the ideal of service.

Albert Einstein

The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer
One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people.

Dick Gregory
We weaken the value of our gifts of service by adding to them love of praise of others, honor, or material profit. Our goal is simply the love of God, without any other consideration whatsoever.  Not only does this unseen service help the individual being served and especially the one serving, but it also helps people who know nothing of them.  Seeing this act of unselfish giving, they are encouraged to do little acts of kindness themselves.  They sense that the real motive behind the service runs far deeper than the service act and are thus inspired in their own faith.


It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts.  These mean nothing.  It is simply service that measures success.

George Washington Carver


The Sweetest Lives
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread
Where love ennobles all.
The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells;
The book of life the shining record tells.

The love shall chant its own beatitudes
After its own life working.  A child's kiss
Set on thy sighing lips shall make thee glad;
A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong;
Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
Of service which thou renderest.


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Often we can help each other most by leaving each other alone;
at other times we need the hand-grasp and the word of cheer.

Elbert Hubbard


Doing nothing for others is the undoing of one’s self.
We must be purposely kind and generous, or we miss
the best part of existence.  The heart that goes out
of itself, gets large and full of joy.  This is the
great secret of the inner life.  We do ourselves
the most good doing something for others.

Horace Mann


As a young doctor, I thought that serving life was a thing of drama and action
and split-second judgment calls.  A question of going sleepless and riding in
ambulances and outwitting the angel of death.  A role open only to those who
have prepared themselves for years.  Service was larger than ordinary life,
and those who served were larger than life also.  But I know now that this is
only the least part of the nature of service.  That service is small and quiet and
everywhere.  That far more often we serve by who we are and not what we
know.  And everyone serves whether they know it or not.
   We bless the life around us far more than we realize.  Many simple, ordinary
things that we do can affect those around us in profound ways:  the unexpected
phone call, the brief touch, the willingness to listen generously, the warm smile
or wink of recognition.  All it may take to restore someone's trust in life may be
returning a lost earring or a dropped glove.

Rachel Naomi Remen


Service is the rent we pay
for our place on earth.

Shirley Chisholm

Great opportunities to help others seldom come,
but small ones surround us daily.

Sally Koch

At the heart of silence is prayer.
At the heart of prayer is faith.
At the heart of faith is life.
At the heart of life is service.

Mother Teresa

The motive, if you are to find inner peace, must be an outgoing motive.
Service, of course--service.  Giving, not getting.  Your motive
must be good if your work is to have good effect.
The secret of life is being of service.

Peace Pilgrim

Service is the rent we pay for being.  It is the very purpose of life,
and not something you do in your spare time.

Marion Wright Edelman



Always try to serve others.  Don't even call it helping, call it service
because you are benefited by that.  If someone begs from you
and you give them something, you shouldn't think you are
helping them.  Instead, he or she is helping you.



It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life
that no person can sincerely try to help another without
helping him or herself.  Serve and you shall be served.
If you love and serve people, you cannot, by any hiding
or stratagem, escape the remuneration.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


The most satisfactory thing in all this earthly life is to be able to serve
our fellow-beings—first, those who are bound to us by ties of love, then
the wider circle of fellow-townsmen, fellow-countrymen, or fellow-men.
To be of service is a solid foundation for contentment in this world.

Charles W. Eliot


Service to others is a creative process that releases energy which can
manifest itself in many ways and bring deeper meaning into your life.
When we love deeply enough, coupled with the desire to be helpful to
those around us and to our world, we often find fulfillment and true
closeness with others that can satisfy our desire to reach the heart of
them.  On the other hand, when we do not love enough to enter into
this wholesome, freeing union with others, we may try to solve our basic
problem of separation by seeking power over others.  We may tend to
live by comparison, by being overly competitive, or by feeling better or
more important than others.  And these attitudes do not move
us towards our goals of unity, love, and helpfulness.

John Marks Templeton
Worldwide Laws of Life



The value of all service lies in the spirit in which you serve and
not in the importance or magnitude of the service.  Even
the lowliest task or deed is made holy, joyous,
and prosperous when it is filled with love.

Charles Fillmore


There are those who in the name of God teach that you must
deny yourself and seek only to serve others.  God’s plan is more
beautiful than that.  You were created to express the will of God.
This means that your highest dreams and aspirations are of God.
By seeking these through the ways of the Lord you automatically
do that which is best for all others.

Bruce Gilbert


One of the great underlying principles governing our life is
service. Most of us have to work, but do we serve?  Do we work
in a spirit of service?  Do we work for Life and our fellows?
Or do we merely work for self, in order to make a living?

Henry T. Hamblin


I have faith that the time will eventually come when employees and
employers, as well as all humankind, will recognize that they
serve themselves best when they serve others most.

B.C. Forbes


The rare individuals who unselfishly try to serve others
have an enormous advantage--they have little competition.

Andrew Carnegie


May no one who ever meets me
Have a meeting of little consequence.
May the simple fact of our meeting
Assist in the fulfillment of their wishes.
May I be a lamp
In the darkness of life,
A home for the homeless,
And a servant to the world.

Ancient Buddhist Blessing


Articles and book excerpts on serving others:

Three Wondrous Answers      Lev Tolstoy (retold by Thich Nhat Hanh)


If you're wondering when you should give to or serve someone else,
I believe in doing it spontaneously, perhaps in a shared moment of
emotion.  Or any time you feel like someone needs your support.
Whether you do it all the time, occasionally, or when the opportunity
arises, just do it.  Reach out and give of yourself and your time.
I have seen, time and again, that happiness and enjoyment arise from
being of service in simple ways.

Lucinda Bassett


To serve is beautiful, but only if it is done with
joy and a whole heart and a free mind.

Pearl S. Buck


You have not lived a perfect day, even though you have
earned your money, unless you have done something
for someone who will never be able to repay you.

Ruth Smeltzer


There is nothing wrong with being successful in society and enjoying
a degree of fame.  But ultimately, the lives of those dedicated to the
welfare and happiness of others, even if they remain unrecognized,
are the ones truly worthy of respect.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day


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The practice of loving kindness must find its root deep within us.  The story is told that Mohandas Gandhi once settled in a village and at once began serving the needs of the villagers who lived there.  A friend inquired if Gandhi's objectives in serving the poor were purely humanitarian.  Gandhi replied, "Not at all.  I am here to serve no one else but myself, to find my own self-realization through the service of these village folk."

As Gandhi wisely points out, even as we serve others we are working on ourselves; every act, every word, every gesture of genuine compassion naturally nourishes our own hearts as well.  It is not a question of who is healed first.  When we attend to ourselves with compassion and mercy, more healing is made available for others.  And when we serve others with an open and generous heart, great healing comes to us.

Wayne Muller
Small service is true service while it lasts. . .
The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dewdrop from the sun.

William Wordsworth

You ask me to give you a motto.  Here it is:  SERVICE.  Let this word
accompany each of you throughout your life. Let it be before you as
you seek your way and your duty in the world.  May it be recalled to
your minds if ever you are tempted to forget it or set it aside.  It will
not always be a comfortable companion but it will always be a
faithful one.  And it will be able to lead you to happiness, no matter
what the experiences of your lives are.  Never have this word on your
lips, but keep it in your hearts.  And may it. . . teach you not only to
do good but to do it simply and humbly.

Albert Schweitzer
"Letter to Students of a School for Nurses,"
The Schweitzer Album


The Hasidic masters tell the story of the rabbi who disappeared every
Shabat Eve, "to commune with God in the forest," his congregation thought.
So one Sabbath night they deputed one of their cantors to follow the rabbi
and observe the holy encounter.  Deeper and deeper into the woods the rabbi
went until he came to the small cottage of an old Gentile woman, sick to death
and crippled into a painful posture.  Once there, the rabbi cooked for her
and carried her firewood and swept her floor.  Then when the chores were
finished, he returned immediately to his little house next to the synagogue.

Back in the village, the people demanded of the one they'd sent to follow him,
"Did our rabbi go up to heaven as we thought?"

"Oh, no," the cantor answered after a thoughtful pause,
"our rabbi went much, much higher than that."

Joan Chittister
There Is a Season

When you make a choice to be of service to others, you gain the
courage and sense of determination that will fuel your efforts.  With
a solid vision in place, you also become less concerned with your
individual fear or self-doubt and more committed to taking the actions
that will support your larger vision.

Cheryl Richardson
Stand up for Your Life

Everybody can be great. . . because anybody can serve.  You
don't have to have a college degree to serve. . . . You only
need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


Giving kids clothes and food is one thing, but it's much more
important to teach them that other people besides themselves
are important and that the best thing they can do with their
lives is to use them in the service of other people.

Dolores Huerta


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There is a big difference between service and working for the sake of
getting something.  When you serve, you are not tied to the outcome.
You are not invested in what people do as a result of what you do, or
what people think about what you are doing.  You give what you have
because it makes you feel good.  You give what you have because you
know that the unique way in which you do what you do will make someone
else feel good.  In situations when your service is not rewarded by
monetary or public recognition, you are not depleted or defeated.
You are encouraged to take your service to a higher level.
You are inspired to pour more love into your work.

Iyanla Vanzant

Life is a place of service and in that service one has to suffer a great
deal that is hard to bear, but more often to experience a great deal of
joy.  But that joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a
service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves
and their personal happiness.

Lev Tolstoy


Whatever you have received more than others--in health, in talents, in
ability, in success, in a pleasant childhood, in harmonious conditions of
home life--all this you must not take to yourself as a matter of course.
In gratitude for your good fortune, you must remember in return
some sacrifice of your own life for another life.

Albert Schweitzer


Service rendered as a gift or love-offering to Life:  work that is engaged
in, not for self or for profit, but as an act of love and service, these bring
the doer a harvest of blessings. . . . When we serve and when we give,
we open ourselves to receive life's richest blessings, its greatest
prizes, and its most enduring lessons.

Henry T. Hamblin

The more you care about others, the more confidently you
act.  There is nothing you cannot do, no defeat you cannot
survive, no fear you cannot overcome, when you are
concentrated heart and soul in helping others.

Robert O'Brien


A young man eagerly described what he dreamed of doing for the poor.
Said the Master, "When do you propose to make your dream come true?"
"As soon as the opportunity arrives."
"Opportunity never arrives," said the Master.  "It's here."

Anthony De Mello
More One-Minute Nonsense



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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