Over the last five years or so there has been an incredible amount of giving by more and more people, whether it’s contributing money or time. People are feeling connected and “making a difference." But many are choosing to keep their contributions private. They are modest or they suggest that their donation is too small to be made public or they don’t want to appear to be boasting about what they have done. I think the time has arrived for us to build momentum in a different direction…
For every good deed that you do for someone else, I think it is important to shout it from the rooftops in any forum that you can find.
When you hear of someone else’s good deed, do you hear yourself thinking, “Couldn’t you have done better?” or, “I guess you think you are the top dog now?”
Fear of that kind of reaction prevents many people from proudly stating the things that they are doing to help, regardless of the size of the act.
So, I say, let’s take everything we do for people, from the smallest compliment to the largest donation of time, energy, money and knowledge, and start boasting about it. It’s time that people really started to share what they are doing so that others are encouraged to share also.
Let’s create an environment where all forms of media, TV, radio, print and the Internet, are oozing with stories of contribution and making a difference. Forums like the GoodNewsNetwork.org are perfect places to share your stories. Let’s not be afraid to highlight some contribution, to boast of some deed where you made a difference.
Maybe we could create a place where contributions are captured for all to see and learn from. Maybe here at GNN?
Feeling proud in secret and feeling proud in public create different levels of positive energy. I would suggest the latter is more productive, as the feelings become amplified as you tell the stories of your success. The energy increases exponentially as others get ideas from your success and look for ways to implement variations and improvements. When someone takes an idea that I had and improves it, I say “Yes – way to go!” Everyone wins when such energy is released and not contained.
For example, two weeks ago I wrote a story called, Giving a Break to Hassled Customer Service People. It told my story of observing a gate attendent at an airport who was really getting hassled after people missed their flight during bad weather. I was inspired to get in line along with all the ornery people, even though I didn’t need a ticket, and then when it was my turn, to ask her to enjoy a little break; to remember her goodness; to relax a bit and recover for a minute before returning to the next irate customer in line.
Some people wrote to me and suggested that I was, in fact, bragging and that I should keep such stories to myself. Others critiqued it and said, “Yeah – so what? So you did a nice thing? Big deal.”
If we all follow the model that these writers suggest, then we lose the opportunity to share good ideas with others or we feel afraid to share such things for fear of criticism.
I replied where appropriate, outlining my belief in the reasons for sharing ideas about making a difference.
The greatest energy, however, was manifest in the number of people who wrote to me, congratulating me on the suggestion and taking it upon themselves to do something of a similar vein within 48 hours. Some of these writers even suggested ways of improving what I did or implementing the idea in a different variation.
To those people, I say, “Bravo – go for it.”
The more we publically share, the more momentum is created for spreading positive energy to everyone around us and the smaller the voice grows for the naysayers who believe that such good works must be kept silent.
Sharing these stories provides more people with the courage and desire to make a difference in their own way, no matter how small.
It is not the size of the gesture that counts – it is the existence of the gesture itself that is important.
I make a point of helping at least 10 people per week with unsolicited contributions of kindness, time, energy or money (whatever is appropriate). I keep a list each week to make sure I am on track to help at least 10. I share these acts with others and encourage you to do the same.
Proudly tell others what you have done. Don’t judge the size of the contribution – just share it. Together, we are all making a difference and driving the envelope of positive, sharing energy to new levels. Take care and be well. Harry
(top photo- Dr. Wentz, an American scientist who donated a medical center and lab in Uganda – read the GNN story)