Don't thank me; pay it forward!

I am a very lucky person in many ways. Some of the things I have learned and gained allow me to help others with no expectations of being repaid, in any form. But, I am no saint. I do not believe in absolute altruism. If my actions (anonymous or not) benefit others, it makes me happy, it makes the world a better place in which I and my loved ones live. It gives me something positive to do.

Recently, however, I have been trying to change my "no expectations" rule. 

Unless I am volunteering for it without request, if I am able to do something for someone (or a group) that is of some significance, I try to remember to ask them to pay it forward. But not just, "Oh, don't worry about it. Perhaps you can help someone in the future like I have helped you." It needs to be more concrete than that. I may ask them to buy a homeless person (preferably vegan) lunch, or I may ask them to donate to a particular charity, or some other similar act within the means of the recipient of my good deed. I think asking them to do something particular will more likely stick in their minds than a simple "pay it forward."

Pay it forward.

This idea isn't anything new. I have been on the receiving end of a good deed and asked to pay it forward. But I wasn't asked to do something concrete and I forgot about for a long time.

There has been a book of the same name written about this, which also resulted in a movie. I haven't read the book but the movie didn't do it justice. 

This is such a simple yet powerful idea. I don't always remember to ask people to pay it forward. Perhaps writing down this blog post will help me remember it better. This post is also to ask others to do the same. There are so many debts of good deeds that go underpaid, just because the recipient was able to get away with a simple "thank you." If we started cashing them in for what they are worth, perhaps the world might quickly move to a more peaceful state. Of course, there is always the chance that the other goes, "yeah, yeah" and does absolutely nothing to repay this dept of pay it forward that he or she owes you. However, if you don't ask, it will never happen.

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