Helping Others Benefits You

Robert Terson

In 14 months of social networking I’ve literally connected with over a couple thousand people, have actually spoken to a few hundred of them and count quite a large number of those individuals as friends. Truly amazing, wouldn’t you say? I would!

One of the lessons I’ve learned from all this social networking is this: some people believe in the concept of “Paying it Forward,” they’ll do anything within their power to help you, be supportive; others, not so much—they’re only interested in themselves; it’s all about them and they could not care less about you. If there isn’t a quid pro quo in it for them, forget it. Oh, a good many of them talk the talk, but when push comes to shove, they don’t walk the walk, they disappear on you, as do the promises of assistance they fervently made.

Sad really, because I believe, with everything that’s in me, that helping others, “Paying it Forward,” is the greatest thing you can do for yourself. I know, because I’m doing it every single day of my “retired” life, and the rewards are indescribable. Recently I spent some time with a former client from Salem, Oregon who needed some direction in procuring new business. I gave him a specific plan of action, which he’s going to enthusiastically implement. When our 40-minute conversation ended, he must have thanked me five times. I’m sure he thinks he’s the one who most benefited from our interaction; not true, my friends—not true by a long shot.

A story I read not too long ago, from an unknown source, tells of a farmer who raised award-winning corn. It won recognition every year at the state fair.

When a reporter interviewed the farmer, he discovered something fascinating about how the farmer grew this award-winning corn: he shared his seed corn with his neighbors. This astonished the reporter.

“Why would you share your prize-winning seed corn with your neighbors?” he asked. They’re entering their corn in the fair every year, too, competing with you. It doesn’t make sense.”

The farmer smiled, said, “The winds pick up and carry the pollen from ripening corn and spread it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior quality corn, that cross-pollination will inevitably degrade the quality of my corn, too. If I want my corn to be high quality, I have to make sure my neighbors grow high-quality corn, as well.

We’re all connected, folks. If you want to live a harmonious life with others, I strongly advise you to give of yourself, help whenever you can, as much as you can. Not only will it make you feel good about yourself, it’ll come back to you a thousand fold. Maybe not directly, but it will come back to you. You’re the one who will benefit the most.

Look around you: if there’s someone who needs help—especially a colleague—consider it an Opportunity to make a difference by “Paying it Forward.” You’ll be doing both of you a great favor.