Ross Jensen, MBA ’14: To Experience Joy, Get Beyond Serving Yourself

A teacher finds that doing for others in ways both big and small can make the difference between frustration and fulfillment.

June 10, 2014

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Ross Jensen, MBA ’14 | ToniBird Photography

This series features our students’ reflections on their aspirations, learnings, challenges, and joys. Here, Ross tells how a change of focus led to increased joy and satisfaction in his life.

Early in my career, I served as a public school teacher. My first year was rough. The turning point came when a colleague interrupted my complaining about how difficult my students were making things for me and reminded me, bluntly, “This isn’t about you.” He was right, of course. As soon as I focused less on my needs and more on serving my students, I became a better teacher and a more joyous person.

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Whenever I feel happy and fulfilled, it’s generally the case that I’ve been focused on serving others.

Now, whenever I feel frustrated or depressed, it’s generally the case that I’ve been thinking about me; I’ve been focused on making sure my own needs are met. Whenever I feel happy and fulfilled, it’s generally the case that I’ve been focused on serving others, on helping them improve their lives or just making them smile. High-impact, long-term service really drives me, but small things like writing thank-you notes, holding doors open for others, or giving heartfelt compliments bring me the greatest joy.

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