Now, perhaps more than ever, the world is looking for leadership. Unfortunately, the world expects someone to step up and fix problems for them. The world’s answers do not lie in leadership, in government programs, nor even in the best intentioned social program.
The answer lies in each one of us. It lies in what we do with the gifts we have and how we step up to help one another.
We don’t need new government programs, we don’t need eloquent leaders, we need to look within ourselves and decide that if there is going to be change, it starts with each of us. Leaders, government and social programs can play a part in creating fertile soil, but without planting seeds and nurturing the crops, nothing of value will grow. Plant the seeds. Give to get.
Some wonder why they are not happy. They are looking in the wrong places. Happiness is not something others give to you. Happiness is something you give to others. When you do, it reflects back on you.
What does it mean to be successful? How is success defined? We watch television, go to movies, read magazines and newspapers and the answer that traditional media gives us is money and fame. If you have money, you are successful. If you have fame, you are successful. It is a scene repeated everywhere we look, and it is wrong. Money and fame can be byproducts of success, but they are only ornaments. Many people are successful and never acquire great wealth and never become cultural icons.
There are wealthy people who are unsuccessful; there are famous people who are unsuccessful. The correlation between success and wealth and fame is an illusion.
Success is directly related to how one gives back. How you “give to get.” Many are confused by this and believe that giving involves money. If I had a million dollars, I’d give more. If I had everything I need, I’d give what’s left over. People also do this with emotional capital too. If only I had the happiness I deserve, I’d do more for others. The problem is that this attitude is coupled with the belief that there is never anything left over. It is a self perpetuating state of emotional poverty.
Money is just an efficient means to transfer value, but value can be transferred without money. Giving could involve a kind word, a pat on the back, or a smile. It could be spending time, it could be volunteering for a cause, or it could be encouraging another and building up confidence.
Success is directly tied to the “give to get” philosophy. We give without knowing what we get in return. The truth is that we do “get” in relation to what we “give.” We just don’t know how it will manifest itself. If you don’t give, then you won’t get. At a minimum you won’t get what you should. You get what you deserve and when you don’t give, you don’t deserve much.
How much does it cost to provide encouragement to someone? How much does it cost to offer someone space under your umbrella? How much does it cost to smile and hold a door for someone?
Giving to get is about human transactions. As it relates to human transactions, we each have a bank account we can never exhaust, but we should try. If you give without an expectation of return, you will be rewarded. If you give only when it serves your purposes, you are wasting your time and your lack of sincerity eventually becomes apparent to all.
When you ask how “can I become successful,” don’t look for the government to provide the answer. Don’t look to leaders to give you what you deserve. Look at yourself. How are you giving? What did you do yesterday to help someone? What did you do this morning? What did you do in the five minutes before you started reading this article? The question becomes what can you do right now?
Send a message of encouragement.
Think about your behavior.
Think about what you are giving.
If you want to be successful, you have to give to get.
Plant the seeds.
Be the example and inspiration for others.
And the best part is that you alone are in control. You can create change. You can be the leadership you need.
By Sydney Leman