Monday, July 21, 2008



Long before Haley Joel Osment has made this 3 word phrase popular with his award winning movie of the same title, This term (also known as "general reciprocity") has been awhile for a long time, yet rarely practiced...

This term was first popularized Robert A. Heinlein in his book Between Planets published in the 1950's. He has practiced the same philosophy in his lifetime and now the Heinlein Foundation goes by the same philosophy.

This has also been the theme for some of the inspirational short stories that has spread all over the world through the internet. One of which was the story of a man who willingly helped an old lady change her tires, despite the freezing cold and the heavy rain. The old lady offered to pay the man for his act of kindness but he refused the offer, saying he'd rather have her give it to someone who needs a hand. The old woman does so by giving a generous tip to the pregnant and underpaid waitress who served her coffee with a smile despite her condition. The pregnant woman turns out to be the wife of the man who helped the old lady... I'm sure you heard or read this somewhere...

So what exactly does "Pay it forward" mean? defines it as
"the concept of third party beneficiary in which a creditor who offers the debtor the option of "paying" the debt forward by lending it to a third person instead of paying it back to the original creditor. Debt and payments can be monetary or by good deeds. In sociology, this concept is called "generalized reciprocity" or "generalized exchange". A related transaction, which starts with a gift instead of a loan, is alternative giving."

I simply define it as giving back through small and random acts of kindness.

So how do you begin? Well the thing is, you don't have to wait for good things to come to you. You can start this chain, ergo, make a big difference with one random act of kindness. Counting your blessings is enough reason to do at least 1 good deed a day. And there's no rocket science or super powers involved.

You don't have to bring a video camera to document your good deed. The big guy above already knows... And before you know it, you might have made a difference in other people's lives already... And all it took was a smile, maybe a pat on the shoulder or just one simple good deed like helping the old woman with her groceries or taking time to pick up the stuff some stranger dropped while trying to balance 2 grocery bags filled with 1 month supply of provisions.

So go forth and pay it forward... Imagine how you can change the world with just being nice...


Kirhat said...

After I watched the movie on this, I tried doing it, literally practicing what it preached, but it's just so hard. If you are not conscious about it, you can easily forget that you are actually trying to follow the principle behind that concept.

Seek No More

sun goddess said...

well... sorta... but it doesn't have to be something big... a little smile and some word of encouragement can go along way... :)

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