“After dropping Steve at the McDonald’s outlet, Balwant quietly slipped a 500-rupee note into Steve’s pocket.
“Mr. Singh, you and everyone here have already given me so much. I really cannot accept more.”
“Please accept it, Mr. Haarmanji. You need to have some money handy for the rest of your day.”
“Thanks, but …” Steve trailed off, overwhelmed and unable to meet Balwant’s eyes. “I guess it’s just … I have never taken so many handouts before … and all in one day. I don’t know how I will ever pay this back.”
“A little help is all it is—to someone who needs it right now, to feel OK about the world again, to be able to trust someone again. And if God wills it, we will meet again someday. In Delhi, or even in Canada. And then you can treat me to a good coffee there.”
“What if we don’t meet?”
“Then you can treat another lost traveler, and I will know it here,” said Balwant pointing to his heart. “And then, we will have met again.”
This excerpt from our book, “Spark: Journey from Success to Significance”, highlights that when we give, we are not only serving the immediate recipient of our gift; we also create a ripple effect of generosity through our community.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that when one person behaves generously, it inspires other observers to behave generously later, in completely unrelated situations.
In fact, the researchers found that altruism could spread by three degrees of separation. “As a result,” they write, “each person in a network can influence dozens or even hundreds of people, some of whom he or she does not know and has not met.”
Assuming some form of social responsibility not only helps in creating abundance for others but also helps in attracting abundance for oneself. When you give to others, you are also giving to yourself.
Every act of kindness is also an act of self-discovery. You not only engage on a deeper level with others but also gain new perspectives, hone your existing skills, and experience first-hand the impact of your actions. The experience of having made a difference, however small, can help you embark on a path of self-discovery and self-growth.
Ralph Waldo Emerson aptly said, “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
So, keep the flow of giving going!
(Adapted from the book “Spark: Journey from Success to Significance” by Azim Jamal)