Life is a continuum of learning. Learning about others, the world around us and more importantly learning about ourselves. Through this learning process though, we can often discover how selfish we really are. 

Even in times when we are seen to be generous, our hidden motives may not be as noble or pure as we’d have everyone believe. So is it possible to master the journey of going from selfish to selfless? 

In my experience I believe it is, and to help you believe too, here are five steps you can take to start living a life of true contribution.

1. Understand and accept who you are

We spend too much time pretending to be someone we’re not. One of our deepest desires is to be accepted and loved, and this need to belong will often drive us to talk, act and respond in a way we think others want us to. We wear masks to be accepted in a particular group, relationship or situation. 

That is why the first step in living a life of true contribution is to accept and be comfortable with who you are. Break down the walls and put down your masks to get back in touch with your authentic self. Until you do, you won’t be able to contribute fully to others. The energy you expend on being someone else will always keep the focus on you.

2. Be aware of your motives

Learning to be more aware of why you do what you do enables you to move from being in selfish to selfless.  

Often we filter everything through the question “what’s in it for me?” Listen to your self-talk, understand and be aware of when you are thinking only of yourself and when you are considering the needs others. It’s only when we begin to have a conscious awareness of this, that can we expect change.

3. Find Your Passion

It becomes easier to live a life of contribution when it’s in line with your passion. Ask yourself questions like: 

What makes me truly happy? 

What would make me jump out of bed in the morning, excited to face the day? 

What do I most love doing on my own time?

Find what makes you come alive and the think about how you could use this to serve others.

4. Help others get what they want

You may know someone who is struggling and doesn’t have the means or the ability to do anything about it. Look for ways you can help!

If you enjoy running marathons or cooking and you know a friend or cause needs help, why not combine the two for fundraising? Use your hobbies, skills, interests, work and creations for the benefit of helping others.

There is a reason you are where you are right now. Why you work where you work, live where you live and meet the people you meet. You have the ability to impact each person in every situation with your words, talents, time and money. Use your daily opportunities to contribute.

5. Find ways to buy back time

I bet there are a hundred things you would do if you only had the time and the money, right? So often helping others relies on money or time, and for many of us it is our two most limited resources. 

Make part of your contribution finding ways that will allow you to give more. Find a worthwhile pursuit that will give you the motivation (and the right motives) to find ways to give you the time and money freedom to contribute to the lives of others without question or hesitation. 

For me, my motivation was establishing The Q Foundation to give hope, health and happiness to children in need. What will yours be?