Altruism is defined as ‘unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others’ and also ‘behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species’.
How does altruism become a force of passion? In the ongoing recession we have seem millions of jobs being lost. Many of these people have taken up volunteer work in social or environmental organizations. And quite a number of them have discovered that this selfless work gives them more satisfaction than their high paying job ever gave them. Their paradigm has shifted from the prosperity of the body to the prosperity of the soul.
The concept of altruistic work has often been mocked by an aggressive materialistic society. Social workers are called ‘do-gooders’ and there is always a cynical and contemptuous ring to that phrase. But after years of ruthless ladder climbing, people often cherish the ability to be themselves and help other people. Bill Gates of Microsoft built a huge empire through ruthless corporate tactics, often getting embroiled in monopolistic practice lawsuits. But after all that, he set up an equally huge foundation that disburses vast sums of money to fight disease and improve education.
Altruism is generally overruled by stronger passions geared towards material success in the early years, but as age advances, altruistic thoughts resurface and become a primary passion in most of us. This is probably because we know that great people are remembered less for the millions that they make, but rather for their service to humanity.
No volunteer or social worker ever starved. While there aren’t any millions to make in selfless service to the lesser privileged sections of humanity, the rewards of spiritual fulfillment are tremendous. The same passion that runs a corporate unit can be brought into play in running a successful Non-Governmental Organization or a Not for Profit outfit. All your skills can be well utilized in these noble ventures and you will see your passion suddenly multiply.