Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pay It Forward


"Don't try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough." -Arthur Freed

There was a movie released in the year 2000 that many of you will remember. It was called "Pay It Forward." In this tale, a young boy develops a simple plan to make the world better when a teacher gives an assignment to come up with a project for school. It was a great movie and if you have not seen it, you can get a copy of the movie
(Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment) at Amazon.

The idea of "paying it forward" didn't start with this movie of course. The concept has been around a very long time. If you are not familiar with it, the concept is to simply ask that a good deed be repaid by having it done (something good) to others instead. Even an insurance company began using the concept as a theme for their commercials back in 2006.

"Pay it forward" dates back to 317 BC in Athens, Greece. It was used as a primary part of a play called Dyskolos (translated as "The Grouch"). The play disappeared or was lost either in the archives of history or obscurity. It was rediscovered and described by Benjamin Franklin, in a letter dated April 25, 1784:

"I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you [...] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro' many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money."

The famed Ohio State University football coach, Woody Hayes even spoke of the concept in nearly every speech he made. In the 1986 OSU Commencement speech, he speaks vividly about what it takes to "pay it forward" in life.

In whatever manner you want to view this, I see it as "feeding one" similar to that which Mother Theresa is quoted as saying. If you can not feed a hundred people, feed one and that person will do the same. It doesn't start with the huge and grandiose idea of saving the world in one fell swoop. It starts by saving the world, one-by-one.

Pay it forward in your life whenever a good deed is done for you. Pass it along to others and know that the goodness will come back around to you.

Stay inspired my friends.

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