Imagine being in a wheelchair. You choose to attend a university that is designed for people with physical disabilities. There are tunnels between every building on campus so you can go between the buildings without being effected by the weather. There are elevators, of course, in every building so it is easy to get to any floor in any building.

Imagine being that person on the first floor waiting for an elevator as the elevator rises from the basement. The door opens and it’s full of other students standing and waiting for the doors to close to go to the higher floors. No one gets out but there is no room for you in your wheelchair. The doors close and you wonder how long it will take for the elevator to open again, and when it does, will there be enough room for you in your wheelchair?

This is a true story that happened to me more than 20 years ago, except I was one of those students waiting in the back of the elevator.

Last week I checked in to a hotel and was told the elevator was broken. The check-in clerk apologized and said the parts would not arrive until the next day. I said, “that’s okay, I always take the stairs”.

For the past 20 years, I almost always take the stairs because I can (and I should).

One reason we are put on this Earth is to help and serve others. Some people think to help and serve others means they have to be part of a volunteer group or become a missionary. Yes these things are good things you should consider, but it doesn’t have to be that big. Do small things.

  • I attended a seminar last week in Atlanta. At the end of the last day, people packed up and left or continued networking with other attendees. What is wrong with hanging around a little longer to help clean up?
  • When walking by the coffee machine at your office complex, what’s wrong with making a pot of coffee even if you don’t drink coffee?
  • When you notice trash, even if it is icky and slimy, what’s wrong with picking it up and throwing it away? Someone else is going to have to do it if you don’t? Why not you?
  • Give blood. Sure you have to go to the extra effort of scheduling an appointment, filling out paperwork, getting pricked by a needle, and taking time out of your day. Doing this can also save 3 to 4 lives each time you give.

You will feel better about yourself and your self-confidence will grow knowing that you are doing something good. It can feel a little selfish sometimes because of how good you can feel.

Always strive to do these things anonymously. There is a secret ingredient that feels better when no one knows what you have done.

Commit to doing one anonymous action today. Then, if (when) it makes you feel better commit to doing one thing tomorrow. Be the person that does something. Take the stairs.

“Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were the entire world looking at you, and act accordingly” – Thomas Jefferson

“Be alert to give service — what counts most in life is what we do for others.” – Unknown

What are some ideas where you can help someone anonymously today?

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2 thoughts on “Are you a giver or a taker?

  • at 8:40 am

    Again, you hit the nail on the head. To give of myself without the expectation of reward or recognition leaves me with a great feeling of satisfaction. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily a habit (yet). Random acts of kindness will change the world, sooner the better I hope.

    Keep up the great work.

  • at 11:30 am

    Chris! Thanks for the reminder! Putting others above yourself is important. I appreciate your words of encouragement and challenge!


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