Notes from Windward: #61


Choosing service over self-interest

Ultimately the choice we make is between service and self-interest. Both are attractive. The fire and intensity of self-interest seems to burn all around us. We search, so often in vain, to find leaders we can have faith in. Our doubts are not about our leaders’ talents, but about their trustworthiness. We are unsure whether they are serving their institutions or themselves…

We ourselves are no different. We are so career-minded, even though there are so few places to go. Or we have surrendered to life-style… We were born into the age of anxiety and have become adults in the age of self-interest.

The antidote to self-interest is to commit and to find cause. To commit to something outside of ourselves. To be part of creating something we care about so we can endure the sacrifice, risk and adventure that commitment entails. This is the deeper meaning of service.

Let the commitment and the cause be the place where we work… Our task is to create organizations we believe in and to do it as an offering, not a demand. No one will do it for us. Others have brought us this far. The next step is ours.

Peter Block (1993) Stewardship. Choosing service over self-interest, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, pages 9-10.