A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 19, 2013
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” is a quote that is usually attributed to Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), but there is no evidence that he ever said it. The quotation appeared in an Internet list titled “More Inspirational/Insightful Quotes” in 2000, but there is no evidence of earlier citations that credit Gandhi.

“Lose yourself in the service of others” was cited in print in 1908; “find yourself by losing yourself in the service of others” was cited in print in 1932. “If you want to find the real you, lose yourself in the service of others” was in the book Christmas: Do you hear what I hear? (1987).

The syndicated newspaper advice columnist “Ann Landers” (1918-2002) wrote in 1971, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in something bigger than yourself.”


Wikiquote: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā — “Great Soul"), in India as Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ bāpu—"Father") and Jathi Pitha (father of the nation), was an advocate and pioneer of nonviolent social protest and direct action in the form he called Satyagraha. He led the struggle for India’s independence from British colonial rule.
Talk:Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Unsourced Quotes
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Chronicling America
10 December 1908, San Francisco (CA) Call, pg. 9, col. 2:
Have you sorrows or trials that seem heavy to bear? Then let me tell you that one of the best ways in the world to lighten and sweeten them is to lose yourself in the service of others, in helping to bear and lighten those of your fellow men.

2 April 1912, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “A Thought for the Day,” pg. 5, col. 3:
Have you sorrows or trials that seem heavy to bear? Then let me tell you that one of the best ways in the world to lighten and sweeten them is to lose yourself in the service of others, in helping to bear and lighten those of a fellow being whose, perchance, are much more grievous than your own.

Google Books
The Democratic Philosophy of Education:
Companion to Dewey’s Democracy and Education

By Herman Harrell Horne
New York, NY: Macmillan Co.
1932
Pg. 161:
When the minister says: “lay self aside and think of others,” he does not mean lose yourself in the service of others; he means find yourself by losing yourself in the service of others. It is the lower self that is lost, the higher self is found.

Google News Archive
5 October 1938, The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), “Relief Society Ideals,” pg. 4, col. 2:
The ideal of service to mankind, as the true expression of service to God was stressed in the sessions yesterday by President David O. McKay who said, “To lose yourself in the service of others is the way to find peace and happiness.”

31 July 1953, Boston (MA) Herald, “Ching Chow” comic, pg. 31, col. 5”
HE PROFITS MOST WHO SERVES BEST--LOSE YOURSELF IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS.

Google News Archive
8 December 1971, Lawrence (KS) Daily Journal-World, Ann Landers syndicated advice column, pg. 17, col. 2:
CONFIDENTIAL to Lonely and Lost: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in something bigger than yourself.

Google Books
Christmas:
Do you hear what I hear?

By Paul H. Dunn
Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft
1987
Pg. ?:
“If you want to find the real you, lose yourself in the service of others.”

Newsweek magazine
Whose Values?
Jun 7, 1992 8:00 PM EDT
(...)
“A few weeks ago my wife got a flier from a book club promising NO RISK, NO COMMITMENTS,” says New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley. “ Not a bad deal, but you can lose out on a lot in life by not taking risks or making commitments. There is the idea that the only way to achieve real happiness is lose yourself in the service of others.”

Google Books
Geis of the Gargoyle
By Piers Anthony
New York, NY: TOR
1996, ©1995
Pg. ?:
“Iris, the only way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Google News Archive
7 February 2000, The Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), “Ministry of truth vs. ministry of truth” by Ann Coulter, pg. 4A, col. 5:
Bradley: “The only way to achieve real happiness is lose yourself in the service of others.”

That is the sort of pious pomposity that small children should be shielded from.

Google Groups: alt.fan.drew-barrymore
More Inspirational/Insightful Quotes
Richard
May 1 2000, 1:00 am
(...)
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” - Gandhi

Google News Archive
23 May 2001, Star-Banner (Ocala, FL), “Teen-age coaches” by Patricia Glover, Neighbors, pg. 13, col. 2:
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Time magazine
National Service
Work with the Secretary

By Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008
(...)
Then I met Maria Shriver and her extraordinary parents Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver and had the opportunity to be inspired by the First Family of Service. I became immersed in after-school programs, the Special Olympics and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. I discovered Gandhi was right: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. It also made me feel terrific.

Google Books
Rules for Writers
Seventh Edition

By Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers
Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s
2012
Pg. 15:
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Gandhi

Forbes.com
10/02/2012 @ 11:55AM
12 Great Quotes From Gandhi On His Birthday
Ashoka, Contributor
(...)
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, January 19, 2013 • Permalink