Maku has been operating a Khanga (women’s wrap clothes) business over the past four years. She is challenged by the high cost of transportation and lack of capital to purchase material. Maku’s dream is to one day have her own wholesale clothing shop.
Maku is well on her way to achieving her dream and improving the living standards of her family. She appealed to the world on Kiva to trust her with a loan of $175 to purchase bales of Khanga for resale. She has made 7 loan payments and has just her May and June payments remaining. The loan enabled Maku to expand her business and her income. Maku recently asked the world on Kiva for an additional $250 loan to further expand her business. She was able to get that funded last week.
For much of human history, it was a struggle to achieve basic needs of enough food, safe shelter and attending to the sick. Yet during this struggle, people were able to achieve their intrinsic needs of feeling a sense of purpose, connected & loved through interdependency, accomplishment & pride and competence & success. For those of us that no longer struggle to achieve our basic physical needs (food, shelter, safety, water, etc.), we still need to achieve these intrinsic needs. With crowdfunding sites like Kiva, Kickstarter and Indegogo, the opportunity to achieve our intrinsic needs is only a few swipes on our mobile devices.
Before smart phones, we may have had to drive to a soup kitchen or volunteer to serve others. We can now achieve purpose by helping people like Maku on our phones during a television commercial. We can feel connected & loved on sites like Facebook and Instagram by encouraging others, offering likes and birthday wishes. We have the chance to tell our stories of accomplishment & pride that may serve as the guidance for another. We can feel competence & success by sharing the name of a good mechanic, an inspiring link or wisdom. We serve others by helping them avoid struggles we once endured.
If it is so easy to achieve our intrinsic needs, why don’t we serve others even more? As good as we feel achieving our intrinsic needs, we feel equally bad by betrayal and failure. What if the money lent is to support a drug addiction or a person fails with our advice? Each of us has been betrayed by those that trampled on our good will. We have regretted providing advice to that recipient that blamed us for their failure (no good deed goes unpunished).
“Serving others” is often associated with altruism and selflessness. “Serving yourself” is likely associated with being greedy and selfishness. Yet doing both has been common through the entire history of mankind.
So find someone like Maku to serve, you won’t have to feel guilty about serving yourself.