Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
– Chinese Proverb –
No one can exist in a vacuum pretending immunity to the problems of ‘others’.
All parts of the world are interconnected.
Let me explain. As we all know by now that smoking can cause lung cancer. Cancer may then spread to the rest of the body. Your body sends you loud signals of complaints. You, the smoker, cannot then respond to the complaints of your body by blurting out ‘mind your own business. You will hear back from your body a loud and clear message: ‘this is our business, dummy!!!’
So, different parts of your body do not exist in isolation, they are interconnected. Similarly, all parts of the world are interconnected.
Let us take one example. In a society, if one group collects the goods and the rest look on, clashes take place between the groups. So, different parts of society do not exist in isolation, they are interconnected.
Globally too, we all feel the ripple effects of illiteracy, human excess, pollution, global warming, terrorism, you name it. So illnesses of the world, too, spread just like forest fires.
Understanding interconnectedness, some people give away money or time, and energy to keep parts (humanity) and the body (earth) healthy. Simple!
Intelligent people play the win/win game – for me to advance peacefully, I push the envelope for the rest, too. This is Healthy Selfishness. –
No one is safe in an interconnected universe! So get real. Use the motto: Think Globally and Start Acting Locally. Pretending to be isolated from the problems of the rest of society is not intelligent, is it? Let us prove this further.
Studies by fellow psychologists show that people who mainly focus on their own ‘needs’ end up feeling miserable even if they collect all the goods and grab the largest piece of the pie playing the zero-sum game – for me to win, you have to lose –
In contrast, studies also clearly show that people who focus on the needs of others by doing ‘Acts of Kindness’ feel they are in control of situations. They also feel energized to make a difference in the world.
A sample of “Acts of Kindness” (or differently put: ‘Healthy Selfishness’) from the rich and famous:
- Some U.S. companies ask their workers to give time volunteering for the community.
- President Jimmy Carter volunteers to build houses through Habitat for Humanity (a charitable organization).
- Teenagers from all over the world volunteer to build schools, clean streets, mentor young ones…
- Actors collect money to help the less privileged.
- Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are immersed worldwide through Gates Foundation.
- Warren Buffet donated a large chunk of his riches to Bill Gates Foundation. Also, he says he will not leave the bulk of his money to his children since he does not believe in the ‘gene pool’ or creating ‘dynastic wealth’.
- Kirk Kirkorian and Andre Agassi among others, who do good deeds, need no introduction.
- ….and …..and …..and – add your own list to the above –
Some may say: “Oh well, only the rich can afford to do “Acts of Kindness”. Rich people have no problems. It is easy for them to talk about giving. Let them give!”
Here is one reply: “Lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness is an act of ‘Healthy Selfishness’. IT IS YOU who gets energized. And no matter the size of your candle this world will become brighter.” So be selfish; do good, and energize yourself!
Start simple. Be part of solutions and feel energized by:
- Helping an elderly cross the street
- Reading a book to a blind person
- Helping an old person clean the house
- Donating time to your cause
- Bringing food to the hungry
- Assisting someone weak to get on the bus
- Providing psychological help free of charge to those who cannot afford to pay
- Helping an orphan with his homework
- Babysitting for children whose parents have to be away to earn a living for their child
Recycling clothing, furniture, appliances, books….
Do one ‘Act of Kindness’ daily. It is good for your health!
And when you belong to a team whose members are resilient, your personal resources multiply. This is one of the secrets of STAYING UPBEAT.
What is your “Act of Kindness” for the day? Discuss this with friends and family. I want to hear from you. Keep connected. Send me your thoughts.
Dr. Louise Aznavour
Psychologist = Solution Oriented Coaching =
+1 (514) 983-8309
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