“You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone” – Al Capone
Not too long ago I paid my visit to the Mob museum here, in Las Vegas. I should describe it as an interesting take on the history of mafia and the city itself, if you get a chance make sure you visit. A lot of things about Mob in United States and its role in development of the country stroke me that day, left bright impressions, but one particular phrase still rings in my mind – “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone”. Said by Capone as quoted in Forbes 1986 this phrase reflects one of the biggest issues of our generation. We live and think that cruelty, ignorance, intolerance and egocentrism is a true path to power and leadership. Let me tell you that it is not. It is easier to take with force, and I won’t argue that (of course it is), easier to satisfy your own needs without any concerns of needs of others, easier to live within your own little box contained with your own persona. Ironically, but life is much simpler than we imagine it to be. It is not a rocket science, but world indeed is moved by couple simple rules. One of them is: forces always come in pairs – equal and opposite action-reaction force pairs, which is the essence of Newton’s Third Law. Now, if we apply it to the everyday life: if you push – you get pushed back, if you hurt someone – you are going to get hurt as well, acting unfair and cruel to others will always come back as a boomerang. Now… the same applies to all the good deeds, would not be life so much easier and the world happier place to live if instead of TAKING we would be GIVING?
“Pay it forward”
I will never forget a life lesson taught by my host family’s mom – Melissa. I was 19 then, in a country across the ocean, far away from home. What she showed me and opened my eyes to was just incredible!
Every ocean starts with a drop, every story starts with a word, this time it all started with a simple question of what did Melissa’s tattoo on her wrist mean? This mysterious at the time tattoo was made to look like a bracelet waving around her wrist and in the very middle there were some very special words engraved: „Pay it forward”. The moment I saw it I had my mind working on a recognition of fact if I have ever heard of something like this before, and then it finally did pop in my mind; the movie, it was the very same movie that I watched maybe like 5 years ago.
Beautifully made movie with such stars like Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt; enchanting idea of a good-will movement as a way of making this world better. So if you haven’t seen it yet – common on buddy! You have all the innovations of civilization around you, so go ahead – you have a thing do on your list in next few hours. Put all other things aside, get a cup of hot warming tea and enjoy the movie that should not leave you emotionless. You will be inspired, enlightened and embraced by simple yet very sophisticated idea of how to make things better, one step at a time. And I believe you will have that spark in your eyes that I have whenever I pay it forward.
Melissa began her story with the way she was raised: with kindness, virtue, genuine love, but not only for her immediate and beloved family, but also towards people that she was surrounded with. Does it really cost you a fortune to do something for others to benefit from? No. Her life is simple, yet full with grace and extraordinary people. She does not value fame or money, she values warm and truthful relationships, she values friends helping hand in troubles, and understanding that what you might have in excessive amounts someone else might need for life or to live this day through.
And I was there, sitting and grasping all pieces of her story as a sip of fresh air that I was lacking for long time. Honestly admitting to myself that I had it all but was never brave enough to give unconditionally, to understand homeless and those in need. Was never encouraged to take away parts of my comfy life and grant wishes with something that is so essential to me, but might be as a real miracle for others. And shame on those who have their sights on charity only during Christmas or Easter holidays, pretending to be a good person and loyal citizen while buying cheap trinkets and useless stuff. But as they say – don’t judge and you won’t be judged. Everyone has the privilege to decide on their own when to believe and what to believe in. I believe in paying it forward; unconditionally, generously, lavishly as if you would do it for yourself. And never wait for anything back – that is the joy of helping the world to become a better place for all of us.
“Thank You! Here, have some ice-cream…”
Now. It does not cost a fortune to give a smile, help someone to get out of the bus or help a lady to carry her groceries. In fact, some time ago I was getting off the bus and saw a pregnant lady struggling with heavy grocery bags. I asked if I could help her and instantly saw a relieved face. We walked about 10-15 minutes to her house, I gave her grocery bags and was ready to go when she said: “Wait, I will give you something”. A minute later she came out with an ice-cream cone that she gave me as a thank you. She hugged me and thanked me one more time. That day was wonderful, not because of the ice-cream, but because of helping others. The ice-cream gesture made me realize that people nowadays barely ever receive any helping hand from others, so rarely that such a simple act of help as carrying groceries for someone was rewarded with a material item. I was thankful, but sad at the same time…
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Make it a rule for yourself. Help others, care about society, get up and so something instead of simply “feeling sorry”! You would be surprised how much can do a couple of hours of your time that you willingly volunteer for some good deeds. Unbelievable! Below you will find a list that I put together for those who are willing to make a difference one step at a time. It does not need to be huge, but it better be sincere. First of all, make a list of things you would like to accomplish. Remember: every action supposed to have an intention and a reason. By helping others you are also developing yourself. Think what you would like to make better about yourself: to be a better parent, to be more understanding, to be more hands on, to be giving and so on. Start small and grow in time, step by step. You are the part of the community you live in and YOU do have the power to change things starting with yourself. If you do, you most definitely will be an example for someone else, the more lives you will touch!
World needs more good deeds!
Here is a list of some things that I do for my community, I hope it will be a good starting point for you 🙂
- Clothing donation – couple of hours ago, today, I donated a goodie bag of gently worn clothing items to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada.
- Helping disadvantaged women – you can also donate business clothing or help personally by motivating women at Dress for Success. I haven’t visited Dress for success in US, but I did in Europe.
- A helping word means a lot – get involved with World needs more love letter and sent encouraging word to those who need it! It is so simple, but you are making a difference! Read about my contribution to love letter writing.
- Create a social media outlet – there is indeed quite a lot social media outlets created, but if you feel that it is going to help, sure, get it started! In fact, when I was in University I have created a “Thank You” page on facebook: a place where to say thank you and express gratitude for everything to anyone. With time other thing took over my life and I left this page unattended, last post was in Jan 2012. If you care enough and have something to be thankful for, make sure you stop by and be vocal 🙂
- When you sell on Ebay click “donate” button, the amount or percentage of donation may vary, but to someone it will be a huge difference!
- Check you company’s contribution to the social community work. More and more companies every year add this to their policies and missions, because they understand – we can if we try!
GET UP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!