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Over 7,500 customers are at Sapphire Now and 20,000 people are participating live and online.  As I prepared to go, I started thinking about the effort that goes into the event from our customers — why do so many customers do more than just attend?  Why do they take the extra time and energy to create and deliver presentations, meet with other customers, lead panel discussions? I heard comments such as:

• I aspire to be a sparkplug for innovation.

• I aspire to help others around me enjoy what they are doing.

As I heard these statements, it occurred to me that more was involved than just career advancement.  I did some research and found two things:

1. We are biologically wired to help one another.

2. We gain wisdom and build strong relationships when we focus on others.

When we help, the hormone oxytocin is released in our brains.  Live Science reports helping others increases oxytocin production, benefiting your sense of connection and even lowering blood pressure.  In Linked-In founder’s, Reid Hoffman’s new book, The Start Up of You, he notes the only way to really build a strong relationships is to offer “helpful help” — do something for others, “classic small gifts include relevant information, introductions, and advice.”

Is this just feel-good talk?  Not according to The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain by The New York Times science editor Barbara Strauch.  She cites studies from Harvard and the University of Florida that share surprising information about who gains wisdom.  The most decisive predictive factor is “those who were… [wise at both fifty and eighty] also scored very low on self-centeredness.  They cared about others.  They were giving in some way or another. ”

As cheesy as it may sound, it turns out that the path to fulfillment really is giving something of yourself to others.  20,000 people participating at Sapphire Now prove it’s true.

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