Week 21 – Trophies and Rewards
As a child, I didn’t play a lot of organized sports. We raced, played football, basketball, baseball, dodge ball, kick ball, etc. all in our neighborhood streets. There were no trophies. Only bragging rights. When I got to high school I joined the track team, ski club and bowling team. (real jock…lol) But I remember being on the bowling team and having an opportunity to actually win a trophy. That’s ALL I wanted to do. Win. I had never won an actual trophy, so the thought was more than enough motivation for me to practice often, correct mistakes and remain focused. Which I did. And I won my first trophy that season. I will never forget the sense of pride and accomplishment I felt. It was amazing. My ego was ecstatic!
Now days, my “trophies” come in the way of bonus checks from my job. Which also provides some sense of accomplishment. I have several friends who were once or still are involved in sports on a professionally competitive level. They used to or still do chase “championships” or “titles” of some sort. They work hard, practice for long hours and remain focused on their achievement goals. Why? Because they want to win.
So how about the contest of life? How do we win THAT? And are you supposed to wait until “death” to receive your trophy of life? Perhaps. But if life after “death” is the “championship” then what about the games of the season, divisional playoffs, regional playoffs, conference playoffs and conference finals? All of which happen before the championship game? Because if you don’t win enough games during the season, you don’t make the divisional playoffs. If you don’t make the divisional playoffs you don’t get to the regional playoffs. If you don’t get to the regional playoffs you don’t get to the conference playoffs. If you don’t get to the conference playoffs, you don’t get to the conference finals. No conference finals…you have no shot at winning the “big game” of life.
So what we’d like to offer you are “rewards” of life instead of trophies. Trophies, while awesome, acknowledge an achievement marked in a certain space and time. While rewards can be achieved even when there is no real contest. Rewards come in everyday life.
I complimented a lady on the elevator at my job a week ago. I liked her shoes and outfit so I told her so. I didn’t think much of it but her face lit up in delight as she proceeded to tell me all about how she had found the shoes on sale but struggled that morning, not knowing if she actually liked the shoes she had just bought or not and was unsure about how she felt about them with the outfit she was wearing. She was so excited that I, not only noticed her ensemble, but complemented her on it as well. I could have held my thoughts, never acknowledged her and gone about my day. But what happened instead was a feeling that generated joy and happiness; not only for the lady with the shoes and outfit, but for me as well.
We have the ability to create rewards freely and spontaneously at any given moment. The woman’s feelings of joy, excitement and happiness she felt were mine also. I shared in those emotions with her in that space and time. It lifted both her day and my day simply from one modest compliment. A genuine compliment.
Feeling that type of joy provides authentic reward for your soul. We have the ability to create those types of rewards at any given moment. We often times look to others to provide or make ways for us to feel joyful or happy. The true reality is, not only are we the only ones who control what we feel, but again, we have the ability to create that happiness at any given moment. Ironically, one way to create our own personal joy, happiness and bliss “factory” is to be in constant service to others. Be of service to others.
Instead of approaching life with, “what’s in it for me?” Start with “what’s in it for someone else?” Being in service to others humbles the ego and allows your true essence, your soul, to grow and shine. The difference is asking yourself, “am I chasing a trophy or am I chasing a reward?” Being in service to others does not mean being a doormat for people to walk and stand on. Being in service to people means acknowledging the divine spirit within yourself and also acknowledging the divine spirit in others. It means giving of yourself to promote another. It means selflessness to selfishness. I selfishly give selflessly because I understand that giving selflessly will offer selfish benefits to ME.
Everyone is familiar with karma. Most people use the term in some type of negative way of affirming retaliation for some perceived wrong doing. The reality is, karma is not based in any perceived negative or positive connotation. Karma simply is. So, the more selfless acts I perform, from an authentic space, meaning I am doing what I’m doing from a genuine place, the more I can expect those things to be returned to me. But do those things without immediate expectations of self-gratification. You can’t say to the Universe, “okay I gave that homeless man a dollar, so I expect a dollar in return this afternoon.” But just know…the “reward” is coming. It has no choice. It is the law that God has put into place. “Reap what you sow, goes around comes around, etc.” It is the same as practicing free throws in basketball. When I practice free throws over and over again, I can expect that practice to “reward” me when I’m playing the actual game.
Giving yourself or being in service to others does not necessarily mean you have to spend all of your time for someone else. It does not mean you have to “go without.” It does not mean you have to suffer in any way. It doesn’t mean you need to stroke a check. Being in service to others is a simple acknowledgment of love through your words, actions and/or deeds. Holding the door for someone, offering a smile, providing a word of encouragement, listening, being completely present, refraining from judgment, being patient…these are just a few ways to be in service to someone else.
The funny thing is…there is no “trophy” for all to see when holding the door, smiling, giving encouragement, listening, being present, losing judgment or being patient. But there are TREMENDOUS rewards for YOU as an individual that no one else knows, feels or sees…but you. The reward is unique to you and your emotion. It has the ability to provide the same exhilaration of winning the big game. And in addition, because the Law of Karma is true, that which you have put out, will also return. So choose this week…how will you be of service to others? How will you decide to win the game of everyday life?