I’ve watched a ton of video clips from the protests/riots, and I’ve seen it all – a retied black cop bleeding out in the street due to black looters shooting him for trying to protect a store. A white cop pushing a white woman so hard to the ground he almost killed her. Looters fighting with protesters. Looters attacking cops and store owners. Crates of concrete chunks conveniently set up on the sidewalk for anarchists to destroy buildings and property.
Our Western world is very oriented towards external, material success, but what is true “wealth”? It’s not money, or fame, or influence.
Robin Williams, one of the most beloved comedic actors of all time, sadly took his own life out of fear of Parkinson’s Disease. In contrast, Michael J. Fox, suffering from a more advanced version of the same disease, chose to spend his energies helping others by raising both awareness and money. Robin Williams probably had more going on that spurred the suicide than just the physical disease. Was he depressed? Had he been depressed long before the physical illness set in?
No matter how much money you have, it doesn’t make up for a lack of emotional resilience and faith. And no matter how little money you have, you can have an abundance of emotional resilience and faith.
Once you start to shift your focus from self-gratification to servant leadership, you’ll find many opportunities to fall back into old egoistic habits. One of the biggest challenges to anyone wanting to be a servant leader is the tendency to turn the desire to help others into another form of self-righteous pride. This can be an insidious temptation that can creep up into your consciousness if you are not careful. Question: Are you focused more on actually being of service, or wearing your service like a badge of honor?
In a narcissistic Western culture, the idea of serving others is often painted as selling out, not being true to yourself, or being “codependent.” While independence is important, we’ve forgotten the value of service.
Sometimes, yes, we can put other people’s needs above our own in ways that aren’t totally healthy. But that’s not what servant leadership is about. Servant leadership doesn’t come out of a place of need or desperation to make someone else love us. Nor is it about “fixing” another person who doesn’t want our help.