The usual pitch, when it comes to volunteering, is that it's appropriate to give something back. We're called upon to serve as a fundamental responsibility. What this pitch obscures is that service is actually a privilege. Whether in a soup kitchen , battered-women's shelter, or Little League, service opens our hearts, connects us to the world, and fills the present moment with meaning. While service often provides great assistance to those in need, its foremost beneficiary is almost always the one who serves.

The Practice:

Find a few hours a week for service. Choose a location or organization that you feel strongly about. Look for a position that takes advantage of your strengths or one that involves a refreshing change of pace from your usual work. Since the opportunity to make a contribution is a privilege, treat everyone you meet with appreciation.

Raphael Cushnir in How Now