Paying it forward
Imagine driving to the toll gate. Just before you stretch out your hand to pay, the cashier tells you “the driver ahead of you already paid for your toll” and then further explains that he did so with the hope that you will do the same for the car behind you. Imagine if the car behind you actually carries on the gesture and pays for the next car. Wouldn’t that be beautiful?
One concept that explains the scenario above is the ‘Pay It Forward’ philosophy which my friend, is how life actually is; someone helps another to get past various “tolls” on the journey of life.
This philosophy can be traced back to an award-winning play first written and performed in ancient Athens in 317 BC. It was called the Dyskolos. The idea later became more popular through Benjamin Franklin’s letter to an old friend, Benjamin Webb. In 1784, Benjamin Franklin received a letter from Webb requesting some financial assistance in the form of a loan. Franklin, who was initially hesitant to grant his friend’s request because he was not rich enough, eventually agreed to help. Instead of lending him the money, Franklin offered to give Webb the needed funds on one condition – that his friend would repay the debt, not to him, but to someone else in similar need. He reasoned that his investment would then help not just one person, but many people long after both he and Webb were gone.
This gesture is widely known today as “Paying Forward” – an act of charity that has inspired many songs, movies and books like Catherine Ryan Hyde’s 1999 novel – Pay It Forward. Hyde went further to establish a foundation in September 2000 intended to foster a more caring society through acts of kindness among strangers.
Friend, whatever state you are at the moment, someone somewhere – no matter how little – contributed to the growth and success you have enjoyed in life. Someone had extended a helping hand to you, to put you in the position you are today. While I can understand the statement “Self-made Millionaire” or “Self-made Billionaire” when used in some contexts, in the real sense, no one becomes anything in life without the help of another. Someone believed in you, invested in you, supported you in one way or the other for you to be in that place now.
Wouldn’t it make the world a better place if you passed it on and helped other people? Here are 3 tips that would help you lend a helping hand to others:
- Acknowledge You Got Help On Your Way Up
If you think for a moment, you will recollect the junctures in your life’s journey when you got help from someone. Maybe a teacher who believed in you enough to keep teaching even when it wasn’t convenient, or that employer who trusted you enough with the job and opportunities. It could even be that friend or family who believed in you when you didn’t even believe in yourself. Think about these people and let it continually fuel your heart of gratitude.
- Start at Your Level
You might have heard the statement, “When there is a will, there is a way.” Many often think they will be ready to help others when they have become very wealthy and comfortable. The truth is you can lift others up at your level. You can choose to be that encouragement to someone even if you don’t have money to give. You can be the channel of hope to another. Many of these won’t really cost much, so start today.
- Be Sensitive To Needs Around You.
No matter how things appear on the surface, many people have various issues they are facing under their smile. With a little more sensitivity, you can recognise when someone needs a push or assistance. Doing this keeps the wheel of kindness moving and the world becomes a better place.
I’ll conclude with the words of Carroll Lewis – the writer of the children’s fiction Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; “One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”
Remember You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT.