by Nate Truman
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 NIV
“What’s in it for me?” If this is the first question that pops into your head anytime you hear about an opportunity, you need a new question. We all know people who always want to get their “cut” before you are finished explaining your idea to them. Do you want to deal with that kind of person, or better yet, do people think of you as “that guy?”
There is nothing wrong with looking at opportunities, both personal and professional, to see if it’s beneficial for you. However, if anytime a friend asks a favor or someone at work needs a ride in the other direction your first reaction is “how does that benefit me?” it’s time for you to make a change, and enjoy paying it forward.
The concept has been around a long time with the old adage, “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you” but most people add to that statement in their heads that others should do something helpful FIRST before you do.
The idea was dramatized a few years ago in a movie with the title “Pay it forward” starring Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. A young boy decides he can change the world by paying it forward. He does three good deeds and he tells those three people that they should do three good deeds for others as repayment. That one gesture of good will ends up spreading good deeds across the country.
So how does this work for you? Simple. You start first! Volunteer at your favorite charity. Ask to do an errand for an elderly person in your life, or take them out to lunch. Start a program in your Church or school that people have been saying “someone should do something about…” Help a friend or a friend’s friend move. Don’t just lend someone your tools, go help. If someone tells you they are out of work, take their resume, and actually help get them an interview at your company, or make sure it gets to someone you know that can help. Plan a special dinner for your spouse or a fun secret outing for the family. Before you know it, you will be getting your investment back two or three fold.
Here is what will happen after just doing a few “no profit” favors for others in your life. First, those that you did a favor for will start treating you more nicely. Who doesn’t like that? Next, they will try and return the favor somehow. Great! If you don’t need any help from that person, suggest to them to pay it forward to someone else. It really is infectious.
You may be saying to yourself right now that people will just take advantage of you. Yes, some will take your help with out even a thank you. What’s the worst that can happen in that situation? Now they owe you a favor. That sort of person will probably try and avoid you so you don’t ask them to return the favor. Great! You did a kind act, move on.
I have been investing in PIF (pay it forward) for some time, and the dividends not only keep growing, they show up in the most amazing ways! People’s lives are happier and deals that never would have happened get done with a handshake. I have helped people that are just acquaintances buy or sell big ticket items, get a job, get a pass into a special event, help a mother with a special need kid and many other similar favors with absolutely no interest in any return of the favor. It makes me feel great, and I find myself wanting to do it again. Often times just knowing you made a difference in someone’s life is reward enough.
The only problem is, the return on my investment keeps coming back in unexpected ways. After awhile people know you have the heart to help others, and they start offering to help you. Opportunities strangely crop up because of a favor you did months or years ago.
For me the best payback is seeing someone who has gone from just hanging on, to becoming alive again and is now helping others in their area of influence. If you want massive return on your investments in life, pay it forward and watch the magic grow.