In contrast to all of the negative media coverage and paranoia surrounding this newest “killer” Flu strain, I’d really like to take a more positive tone and talk about a new kind of virus that could, literally, save the world from it’s own destruction.
As you are probably already aware, when an individual is infected with a virus, 2 things are typically true. ONE – they display the very same (or very similar) symptoms as the individual who infected them. TWO – It won’t take too long before they will very likely infect numerous other people with precisely the same virus, thereby causing them to exhibit very similar symptoms. These two characteristics of a typical virus are precisely what I’d like to elaborate on here regarding an entirely new virus that could potentially “heal the world” (or at least a large part of it).
The “Paying it Forward” Bug
About 6 or 7 years ago I saw a wonderful movie called Pay It Forward, a movie to which many people attribute the phrase of the same name and the “good deed” mentality that goes with it. In the movie, the phrase “pay it forward” referred to performing a “good deed” for a few NEW people, so as to pay FORWARD the nice thing that was done for you.
This premise of paying it forward is not a new one. In fact, it actually pre-dates even Ben Franklin’s 1784 explanation of a similar premise. He described paying it forward in the following passage (which might take just a bit of deciphering for some):
“I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you […] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.”
Of course, paying it forward doesn’t always have to involve monetary assistance, nor even physical labor, although it certainly might. The new WhyTheCards.com website applies a much simpler approach to Paying it Forward.
Encouragement and Appreciation Can Make a BIG Difference
Almost a century ago, Andrew Carnegie settled on Charles Schwab as the best man to run the new United States Steel Company. So, he hired him as president and offered him a starting salary of $ 1,000,000 per year or approximately $ 3,000 per DAY (during a period when a $ 3,000 ANNUAL salary would have been an excellent wage).
By Schwab’s own testimony, he was given this immensely lucrative salary because he knew how to appreciate people and draw out their best qualities.
“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,” said Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.”
It is this focus on appreciation and encouragement that WhyTheCards.com is designed to multiply via the “pay it forward” ideal but in a simple, yet viral manner which, hopefully, will reach hundreds of thousands of people.
Just Mail Them a Card
It’s hard to imagine just exactly why a simple piece of cardstock with an image and a message can have such a powerful impact on an acquaintance that’s been going through a difficult situation (or maybe even if they haven’t). Just the simple act of letting them know how much you appreciate them and the talents they possess. Or, a word of congratulations for a great performance.
You could even send a note to suggest that you wish to get together for brunch sometime soon or to encourage them not to make dinner this Wednesday since you’ll be bringing it over to them. Even better, use your card as an opportunity to encourage them to pay the good deed forward and help someone else. As unlikely as it may seem, assisting another person is often one of the most effective ways to make YOURSELF feel better (although that really shouldn’t be your primary motivation for helping).
A simple greeting card can sometimes be an effective way to tell a friend that they have value, that THEY have amazing gifts that ONLY they have, and that there are people they know that really NEED their gifts. It does not have to be a time or money consuming task – just a simple card is often all that’s necessary to really boost someone’s spirits.
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