If I were to take you on a safari to Africa (and it is a must-do for anyone’s “bucket list,”) you would undoubtedly hear our guide speak of “The Big Five.” The phrase refers to the five animals that we simply must see during our time in the bush. They are: the elephant, the black rhino, the Cape buffalo, the lion, and the leopard.
Getting the opportunity to see magnificent African animals in their natural habitat is truly the experience of a lifetime. Seeing all of “The Big Five” makes for the ultimately special trip and an unequalled natural high.
Researchers like Robert Cialdini, from Arizona State University, however, have documented another type of peak emotional experience popularly known in the literature as “the helper’s high.” The helpers’ high is a euphoric feeling, followed by a period of calm, which we experience after performing an act of kindness. All of us have experienced this feeling at one time or the other, but did you know you can build into your life the weekly habit of service that blesses not only yourself but also those around you on a consistently blissful basis? For me, serving others is a natural expression of my Christian faith, but non-religious and religious people alike are involved in helping others and enjoy the great feelings engendered by doing so.
In thinking about the peak experience of serving, I would like to propose that as you support those causes closest to you heart, you don’t forget to also “serve small.” My Fire Your Excuses co-author, Dr. Dayhoff and I, define “serving small” as serving one-on-one, in a deliberate, often anonymous but powerful way. Each week make it your goal to reach out and encourage each of “the Small Five.”
Who are “The Small Five?” They are:
- Your relatives
- Your friends
- Your neighbors