A friend of mine, John Morrison, sent me the video below and it’s simply too moving not to share with everyone. Paying It Forward: a simple concept that can make a lasting impact on people (with whom you cross paths while living your life) that you may not even know or may never meet again. This eight year old boy who, from his perspective, lost everything was willing to pay it forward to an American soldier in uniform at a local restaurant. What was more valuable: the $20 or the hand-written note of encouragement? Watch the video and decide for yourself.
After you’re done wiping the tears from your eyes, make a commitment to pay it forward today to someone who’s put it all on the line to defend the liberties and freedoms we enjoy each day. Or, make a commitment to pay it forward to someone less fortunate than you, someone who might be in need of a genuine pick-me-up today.
But how does one pay it forward? It’s rather simple and (as the video below shows) everyone, regardless of age, can pay it forward and make an incredible difference.
First, Pay Attention: Make it a point to recognize the numerous opportunities you may have to serve someone each day. It will help if you put your smart-phone away when out in public and, instead of looking at the screen in your hands, observe the people who surround your life.
Second, Be Prepared: Imagine various scenarios regarding the people in your life and take time to consider how you may become a bright spot in their day by extending a simple courtesy while expecting nothing in return. Is there an elderly neighbor that you could help out by bringing them their mail or returning their trash bins from the end of the driveway on garbage day? Is there a family at a local restaurant who’s spirit could be lifted if you anonymously paid for their meal?
Third, Show Courage: Have you ever left the scene of an opportunity wishing that you actually did what was on your mind? Why didn’t you act when the opportunity presented itself? The most common answer is lack of courage. We can’t go back and fix missed opportunities, but we can learn from those disappointments and realize the only thing holding us back is courage. Thinking about a compliment does nothing unless the inspiration is acted upon; compliments actually count once they are shared (either verbally or in a note). Similarly, it’s one thing to think about doing something nice; it’s entirely profound to actually do what was on your mind.
Fourth, Spread the Word: If, after doing your good deed, someone thanks you or offers something in return, politely acknowledge their thanks but be sure to let them know you were paying it forward (just like Myles Eckert did in his note). And encourage them to, rather than return a favor to you, go out and pay it forward to someone else in their lives.
Set this positive power in motion today and Pay It Forward before your head hits the pillow tonight. How much better a place would we live in if we all committed a single random act of kindness each day?