The Ripple Effect Continues! (Payitforwardday.com)
In 2015, people from 75 countries participated in Pay it Forward Day with individuals working on proclamations in 42 states & 48 cities.
For this year’s international Pay it Forward Day (PIFD) we are aiming to inspire over 10 million acts of kindness around the world. Imagine the difference that would make!
Paying it forward is a third-party beneficiary concept that involves doing something good for someone in response to a good deed done on your behalf or a gift you received. When you pay it forward, however, you don’t repay the person who did something nice for you. Instead, you do something nice for someone else. For example, if someone changes your tire while you are stranded on the highway, you might shovel your elderly neighbor’s walkway after a snow has fallen.
The concept was popularized in modern times by a 2000 movie Pay It Forward, starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. In this movie, a young boy, played by Haley Joel Osment, is given a school assignment that requires him to find some way to change the world. He develops the pay it forward concept, setting forth a chain reaction of good deeds.
One of the most important things that people should remember about this concept is that it should be done with a selfless spirit. This means that one person helps another without hoping for repayment or good deeds in return. In fact, there are some organizations that allow people to pay it forward anonymously, donating money or performing good deeds without hoping for recognition. As far as the receiver of the money, gift, or good deed is concerned, he or she is told only to do something good for someone else.
The concept has a firm foundation in history. Ben Franklin described it in a letter he wrote to Benjamin Webb in 1784, in which he wrote about his intention to help Webb by lending him some money. He did not want to be repaid directly, however. Instead, Franklin hoped that Webb would at some point meet an honest man in need of financial help and pass the money along to him.
Paying it forward doesn’t have to mean giving a large some of money or expending a lot of effort. It could be as simple as holding the door for someone laden with bags or giving up a place in line to someone who appears in a rush. It could even mean spending a little cash on coffee for the person behind you in line at a coffee house. For those who have money they can afford to give, there are always people in need, but even the smallest, free gestures can make a difference.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his 1841 essay Compensation, wrote: “In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”
In 1916, Lily Hardy Hammond wrote, “You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.”
The “pay it forward” movement is not a new concept. According to Wikipedia, it dates all the way back to 317 BC where it was used as a key plot concept for a play in ancient Athens. There are small documented events of the “pay it forward” notion throughout history; however, it became a widely popular concept after the 2000 movie of the same name, which was based on the novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
The simplest way to define “pay it forward” is that when someone does something for you, instead of paying that person back directly, you pass it on to another person instead. One of the easiest examples of this is buying a coffee for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop and then they buy a coffee for the person behind them and so on.
What is the point of all this? Why do so many people live their lives according to the “pay it forward” principle? It has been proven that acts of kindness build exponentially in a community and because people believe that one good deed deserves another. “Paying it forward” can make the world a better place.
Now I tested this theory and I challenge you to do the same. But before you get started, I learned that there is a catch with paying it forward and it is: What is your true intent? You have to look deep inside your heart – deep inside yourself and determine your true intention for why you are doing this. If you are doing this to prove the theory wrong – you will be missing out on the experience, and if you paying it forward to make yourself look good (to feed the ego) or to really expect something in return, it won’t work for you.
Truly perform an act of kindness and never think about it again – just move on with your life feeling good that you did something good for someone else. Do you know what will happen? I personally started to see more and more people being helpful and kind in my life. I started to see more kindness in the world. It was wonderful and amazing. Then I started paying it forward every opportunity that I saw available and enjoyed my life becoming easier, and it was great to see kindness instead of harshness. Now was every day perfect? No. But the days that weren’t going great, I started looking at myself to see if I was perhaps slacking off – not paying it forward, or if it was simply my attitude. Most of the time it was only my attitude getting in the way. This realization started me on the path of learning how to control my thoughts and emotions — my attitude.
So now as I reflect back… it was one act of kindness that started me on the path of being kinder to, not only friends, family and strangers, but even myself.
If you take on this challenge, please feel free to share your experience! Don’t take my word for it… do it for yourself – literally!