Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waiting for payback? Do not cast your vote on greed or generosity.

Have you been disappointed that other people did not return your goodwill, your generosity? Do not be. If also you think that greed, procuring things to your advantage and for yourself, will make you better off than others, have you counted the costs in health bills, failed relationships and trust, of that success? You better do.

Our thoughts are powerful instruments of the imagination. To understand the world around us, our thoughts combine with the experience of others to shape viewpoints and conclusions; hence, the importance of information and education. What you think about generosity and greed, where you desire that others show you generosity, or are caring towards you, is determined by what you think, because you might be disappointed.

Ask yourself: do you desire peace or conflict?

A bed of peace and love, how so sweet?Flickr/fabi dorighello
To err on the side of the utopic, we all expect goodwill or that our acts of generosity should get repaid. After using your skills and resources to help others, whether friends or strangers, you think that when you have similar problems or needs, you will be shown similar generosity or goodwill. Although what you think might be disappointing, it is wise you do not despair and refuse to shower others with this noble quality, because generosity could reap rewards through other means. What are acts of generosity one can display? Babysitting for a single parent, doing computer repairs for others, and helping out the elderly with their meals. These acts are the grease of society and should be encouraged. Yet, if you do them because you expect or think others will repay you in return, forget it. You better look elsewhere.

Why is it like that? Because generosity and goodwill involves expenditure of skills and resources. Have you thought for a moment if other people, from whom you expect repayment for your generosity, possess the required skills and resources? Most likely they do not. Ask any philanthropist. They hardly get repaid for their charitable donations. You could be stranded on a highway for hours and no one offered to help you out. Would that make you refuse to help another stranger whom you see stranded and you have the means to do so? Have you asked yourself: if you have what it takes to be generous, do others have it? They might not have the time or skill to stop over and help, or if they do, they do not possess the risk aversion needed to stop by the highway the same way as you do. Do not let it despair you. That is the secret of philanthropists.

At the other end of generosity is greed. Greed could be demonstrated in several ways, including when you do not show concern for the feelings of others, want the first place in everything and do not pay others what was agreed. If you judge people hastily and offer them what is inappropriate, like offering a Muslim roasted pork when you know his religion forbids it, then you are exhibiting greed. When you show greed, you should expect conflict. You will get repaid but unsuccessfully. It will be a negative, destructive payment. Imagine what will happen if a country inadvertently imposes trade restrictions on the import of other countries just because it is facing economic problems? That country could be calling for repercussions, even a trade war, not so?

Furthermore, greedy people emit negative stimuli which will surely be remembered and paid back in its negative kind. Negative stimuli produces strange behavior on people. It also has a more powerful effect on others than positive stimuli. If you think greed makes you better off, trade it off against the unhappiness you could be investing in, and do make a more profitable choice.

The golden rule will always be repaid.

“Do unto others as you want them to do unto you,” so states the golden rule. In brief, you should treat others as you would like to be treated. If you want people to listen to you, be equally ready to listen to them. If you want to be accepted for what you are, be ready to do the same to other people.

The golden rule works in most situations. Where you want others to repay you for your acts of kindness, treat them as equally well as you want others to treat you. These three reasons, amongst others, are why the golden rule works.

  1. We all possess the required skills and resources.
  2. Unlike generosity, we all possess the inherent skills and resources for treating others as well as we want them to treat us. Listening, fairness, peacefulness – they are inherent in us. We only have to use these skills if you want to.
  3. It makes for economy and healthiness.
  4. The more you treat others well, they see it in you and are ready to return the same to you. Even strangers will be ready to show reciprocity. It costs nothing, rather promotes godliness and healthy social relationships. Do you wonder why greedy people are fond of clenching their tooth? They are on edge because they have been treated badly by other people who accuse them of treating them badly in the past. If they only knew the golden rule.
  5. It is what we all prefer and desire.
  6. Wars and conflicts should be seen as children of necessity when all recourse to diplomacy is exhausted. No sane individual wants to live in a home where fighting, backbiting, and foul-play are daily occurrence. We all want and prefer good homes, high-paying jobs, happy achieving kids, good government and adequate security. We all want what is fair. To have our desires, we should ready to play fair. Give what is fair and just, and people will be ready to repay you back without asking for an incentive. The opposite would surely be an investment in future trouble.

Note before: It is not in all cases that the golden rule will be repaid, but in most of the cases, the golden rule is generally paid more than generosity and greed much more readily repaid in its negative kind than generosity.

My mantra for this week is: hey, where is the pain in all that? Make it yours.


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