“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore
Earlier this week, Good Morning America did a short spot on Martin Passeri, a champion surfer from Argentina who lost this year’s national surfing competition for a pretty cool reason: Passeri spotted Nicolas Gallegos, a thirty-eight-year-old paraplegic sitting in his wheelchair on the beach and invited him along for the ride. Gallegos reportedly never learned to surf due to an accident at age eighteen, but thanks to Passeri he rode with—and like—a champion in the national competition.
On my flight back from Chicago last evening, I read an article in the most recent edition of The Atlantic with the provocative title, “Why It Pays to Be a Jerk.” The article considered conflicting research on where “nice guys” actually finish—first, last, etc. In the end, despite the title, author Jerry Useem concluded that “being a jerk will fail most people most of the time” with an important rationale: “Jerks, narcissists, and takers engage in behaviors that satisfy their own ego, not to benefit the group.”
Passeri lost the competition, which can further the argument that nice guys don’t finish at the top. But I contend that we all instinctively know that Passeri’s willingness to care for another above himself was a championship move.
I propose living for a cause greater than you. Whatever your current struggle, whether studying for a bar exam or struggling in a tough job or facing a health challenge, don’t let the struggle be as pedestrian as a struggle for your own benefit: Consider how your struggle might benefit others.
To quote Tagore, “I acted and behold, service was joy.”
[Check out a little video footage of the Passeri-Gallegos ride HERE.]