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​According to the Oxford online dictionary, paying it forward means: Responding to a person’s kindness to oneself by being kind to someone else.

Upon the first time reading this concept, I thought it was just a passing fad to make the world a better place or to promote world peace.

I soon discovered that I was mistaken on two counts.

First,  it was not a passing fad. It was an existence as old as the belief in the saying what 'goes around comes around'. I am not one who does things purely for good karma. I am a values driven person. I carry out actions based on what I believe is right.

I recall my experiences in my voluntary work. It ranged from helping troubled youths to those with low self esteem as well as helping out broken homeless people. Every piece of volunteer work I did had a different nature a different dynamic. As I reflect on my experiences, one thing became very evident. As the profiles of people I helped out in my voluntary work were so diverse, I had to come up with feasible solutions to help them, using methods that I have never thought of or those that I have come across but have been left at the back of my mind a long time ago.


Through this experience, I came to realise that I grew as a person when I helped others learn how to see and utilise their potential. Not only did I become more appreciative of what I have in life, I became wiser and more capable because when I am forced to think of ways to help them to develop and succeed, I am inadvertently made to come up with creative ways to teach others how to help themselves. By developing others, i was developing myself inadvertently. I finally understood the meaning of 'when you give, you receive'.

Many people are so caught up with their own personal well being. If there's no benefit, be it in the form of material wealth, recognition or even useful learning learning experience, many people would just focus on their own personal lives, and the life of loved ones as well as close friends. There is nothing wrong with that. But then again thats what most people would do.


If you really want to grow beyond measure, you have to serve the larger community. You have to give. Develop others with the talents that you have. Giving need not be in the form of cash or kind. It may exist in the form of spending time with the less fortunate and serving them. You may not always receive gratitude from others, but giving and serving others should not be done to receive gratitude. When you use your talents and skills to serve others, you are sharpening them, you will get better over time. 

Spend time helping a soul in need. Spread kindness to others. We are made to care for one another, not to hate. Your act of giving and serving others will create a ripple effect on humanity. 


Written by Abraham A.L on 14 Jan 2016

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Paying it forward