Posts Tagged ‘Personal progress’

The Multifold Power of Giving

How many times do you bend backwards attempting to do someone else a favor only it does not get reciprocated when you are the one in need? Does it happen often enough to discourage you from being a giving person? You wonder: This is not in line with the “norm of reciprocity” (i.e. the social expectation that people respond to each other in kind)? Consider this: the expectation that you receive back from the same person may be the norm, but never the rule. You will receive back in return; albeit, from multiple other sources. Don’t be reluctant to keep giving as you are bestowed at least ten fold. How is that possible, you ask? 

1. Giving feels good. You have been a positive impact. You took part in someone else’s life. In return, you reap a positive psychological reward (i.e. I am useful). Caution: buffer your disappointment by not expecting a repayment in kind. Do it for the sake of getting that “helper’s high”. 

2. Giving enhances your physical health. When you feel good psychologically, it feeds into your physiology. It is a known fact that psychological and physical states are interrelated.

 3. Giving others can offset being totally self-absorbed. That is very applicable in times of distress or even success. It is a distracter from over-indulgence in one’s own misery on one hand; and a source of redirecting the overflow of positive emotions to others in need on the other hand. Why hoard the pleasure of accomplishment to ones’ self? Share it.

 4. Giving fosters a sense of abundance. You are wealthy if you are able to provide and give. Have the conviction that your reservoir will not dry. Hey! “There’s more where that came from”. 

5. Giving shapes your life with meaning. Yes, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose. Giving is life enriching.

 6. Giving satisfies the need for social connections. We all have this need to connect with others; and sometimes those interactions are not so satisfactory. How about turning things round when that’s the case? Make your relationships and interactions beneficial one way or another?

 7. Giving makes you nicely remembered. We are not going to live forever (and that’s another fact). Ask yourself: How would I like to be remembered? Wouldn’t it be nice to leave positive prints behind?

 8. Giving can trigger a multitude of positive thoughts about yourself. Again, as long as you’re not expecting anything in return, your thoughts will rotate around those positive attributes you possess. You are charming in so many other ways.

 9. Giving entails superiority. You have the upper hand. It is your wish and will to do the things you do. Think of it as your choice; no one coerced you into doing anything.

 10. Giving characterizes those who are self-actualized (i.e. those who have reached their utmost psychological development like Mother Theresa, Ghandi, and Albert Einstein). Self-actualized people are only motivated by personal responsibilities and ethics; and not by what they receive in return.

 So, you see, giving spirals up into a great deal of life and self-satisfaction. I can think of many other alluring reasons for giving, but the above suffice to endorse it as a life philosophy. I am in awe when I hear of those who stretch their giving to that of self-transcendence. They give others because it makes them more fulfilled; they transcend the egocentric focus. They are so lucky to be there. Others give so much, but that has its bases in their “inability to say NO”. Giving becomes distressing, so one has to really consider if negative emotions surface. For me, I keep few things in mind as I adopt a giving attitude: it’s about being a positive influence. It is about the value it adds to my own personal growth and progress. I am able, then, to give back at least double what I receive…..


Choosing to Moving Forward (3) – Accepting Versus Resisting

Is in it so uplifting when you set your mind to moving forward on specific personal areas and actually succeed? You pick up the habit of exercising; you find your soul mate; or move into that more spacious apartment you’ve always dreamed of. What a joy it is to effect some positive change! Sometimes, however, change or the move forward may apparently seem impossible or impractical. You try different ways to make things change, but nothing seems to work. You find yourself in a difficult life situation and become even more frustrated by locked doors as you seek your way out. It must be real hard on you to persist despite unsuccessful attempts. Do you keep trying, or do you surrender disappointed into a depressed state?

Neither of these two options is a healthy coping mechanism. Both entail resistance though both vary in the “how”. Even depression is anger turned inward. You might still be resisting the idea and shaming yourself for your inability to deal with a pressing need. When things seem so bleak, accepting the difficult to change becomes the wiser mental attitude. It has been said: “What can’t be cured must be endured.” Resistance entails spending a lot of energy at what you’d like changed (even if you just whined, or became depressed about it). That energy is better off being channeled in other directions leading you forward. So, in the end, we still have a choice in responding.

 For instance, you have major disagreements around specific ideologies with your parents, siblings or spouse. You might be tempted to change their attitudes. You argue, you shout, you give them the silent treatment, or you try to force your own stance. All these attempts may deplete your energy reservoir until you feel drained. Accept their attitudes as just being different; then let go. You can still share fundamental other beliefs that bind you together.

 In a similar vein, you might have conflicting characters with close others you deal with; do you try to change theirs at no avail? Do you keep trying? Maybe it’s just wiser if you worked on changing yourself, or the way you look at things. I am not saying that you mimic others to fit in; just spend that energy educating yourself with what you need to know to handle these differences better. Again, accepting others for who they are, as opposed to resisting the differences, can save you a great toll. The more you refuse to give in, the more you get frustrated, so choose your battles by examining the costs they entail. Move in a different direction.

 I can relate the idea to instances of fighting too hard when you experience injustice in some life situations. You get bluffed (ridiculous, but could happen at any point in ones’ life 🙂 ); do you attempt revenge? Do you take others to court? STOP! Would you consider forgiving? Yeah! Go for it! Save yourself the inner turmoil and the external hassle. So much has been said about forgiveness. Learn your lesson and re-direct your energy to areas that can make you feel good. Don’t stay stuck in trying to save face at that mishap. Get your chin high somewhere else. ‘Whatever you focus on expands” so it’s been said. Why not focus on moving forward in other directions. It just might be the better way out!

Guard Your Reputation With All Arms

oaktreeGlass, China, and Reputation, are easily cracked, and never well mended.
 ~ Benjamin Franklin


A quote well thought of indeed. Businesses, groups, and foundations all try to establish a cutting edge reputation to advance forward. Wouldn’t you, as an individual, work on developing your own reputation on both levels: personal (or perceived character) and professional (in terms of achievements)? Your reputation represents your social evaluation; and hence, constitutes a portion of your basic identity. Because you are not invisible and are bound by civil interactions, your reputation matters. Like it or not, it follows you like a shadow everywhere you go; consequently, is one of those assets you need to maintain well-polished.

 I started pondering about this concept as I observed an interaction that took place between one of my colleagues and her superior. The latter was aggressive, sarcastic, and haughty as she denounced my colleague with reprimand over a really trivial matter. I stood there speechless about the notorious image that superior was portraying. I wondered why she degraded her own personal worth as such despite being professionally at a competitive advantage. It made me realize that some of us don’t really care about having a well-rounded reputation. In some aspects, they act on whim and let themselves be driven by uncontrolled inner forces. A little thing like that told a lot about that supervisor. Despite the many finer professional qualities of her in hindsight, I couldn’t but become myopic and map the shortcomings of her in that brief encounter. If I am asked to assess her now, I would say: she is professionally outstanding, BUT…so and so…. That BUT, being said, negates anything that preceded :(.

 Have you ever considered that your reputation maybe the only immortal aspect you have? Not only do you form judgments of yourself, others similarly form an impression of you. These accumulate to form your reputation. It forms in the past, is maintained in the present, and continues to compound in the future. You will forever remain a target for evaluation, as people take short-cuts in describing the person you are. From mere chatting, to gossip, to scandals most people might entertain, warn, or take your case as an example as they converse. Keeping that in mind, you might as well plant the seed for a sound reputation and nourish it with your attitudes and behaviors. It’s not something ephemeral; rather, becomes like an oak tree taking years to grow, but once well-rooted, stands tall and endures.   

  Some people are not concerned with social evaluation. So what if I deviate from social norms this one time, or do the things that I consider right despite opposing social consent – some would be tempted to say. Ones reputation is very fragile and it would take painstaking efforts to restore a crack there. I, personally, would rather remain alert and guard my reputation with both hands. My reputation determines how others will relate to me in any role I partake. I do care about being consistently held in high esteem. My reputation is among the few things I’ll pass on to my off-springs. I do care about nourishing that oak tree – strong, enduring, and ever green. I live with others and for others.  I, therefore, formulate a set of standards to abide by in my behaviors and deeds; would you want to do the same too? After all, don’t you think Benjamin Franklin was right when he said:


It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.








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