Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pay It Forward

Do you think that you are alone? Do you think that you do not make a difference? Do you feel that your actions are lost in the labyrinth of time and you are only a grain of sand on an infinite beach? You are part of the whole, take you away and the whole is not complete. Without you the fabric of reality could collapse.

What you do makes a difference, and every act or omission is like a pebble dropped into a still pool—the ripples move out in an infinity of directions, touching shores that you could never imagine, and every little thing, regardless of how insignificant you may consider it to be, affects others, as other acts affect you, directly or indirectly.

Smile at someone on a busy street, and that person then knows he or she is acknowledged for his or her existence, then that person feels better and smiles at another. Ripple effect. Did you see the little you tube video of the Russian subway filled with frowning, unhappy people, and the man began to laugh? People at first thought he was crazy, then the person in the seat next was caught up in the laughing---then soon the whole car was filled with rollicking laughter, people smiling at one another, slapping each other on the back, awakened to the fact that they were really one-they were brothers and sisters and a group.

He then gets off at the next stop, gets onto another sad, apathetic car, and does it again, and again. Can you do that just once, can you spare a smile?
I have been trying to say this, and did try to say it in my little quote I have in my emails ("This moment in eternity is as important as any other moment, past or future. What will you do with it.") But I didn't say it as clearly as this little two minute video says it.

There is a new phrase in the English language abourning, "Pay It Forward." Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

“The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead. In contract law, typically there are two parties but there is the concept of third party beneficiaries. Pay it forward merely applies this contract law concept so that third party beneficiary be a stranger to the creditor (or obligee). More specifically, the creditor (obligee) offers the debtor (obligor) the option of "paying" the debt forward by lending it to athird person instead of paying it back to the original creditor. Debt and payments can be monetary or by good deeds. In sociology, this concept is called "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange". A related transaction, which starts with a gift instead of a loan, is alternative giving.”

In other words, do whatever good you do without expectation of return, but collect the debt as paid in full by having the debtor do something good for another.

I think if we live our lives with a "pay it forward" state of mind, we as a group, and we are a group whether we realize it and act like it or not, and what we do to and for each other impoverishes or enriches in proportion. Watch this video, and live today with this in mind.

L D Sledge

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with you LD. This hits right at the heart of why we do what we do, with our our card business (, as you know.

    To go a bit further, I believe that most people have a natural instinct to operate this way. It's just a bit buried under a few layers of other habits. But once they tap back into it, the pay-it-forward way of looking at the world really grows on them.

    We have an army of about 1,000 pay-it-forward people in our business. In fact, it's kind of hard to call it a business. It's more of a movement.

    Thanks for the post!