“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” People see these words everywhere from the bumper sticker on a car to the canvas in a coffee shop. Putting these words into practice seems to be the biggest hurdle people face. The idea of “paying it forward” is one that is widely encouraged but hardly performed. The biggest reason why this may be the case is that for most people the idea of changing the world seems impossible. In the grand scheme of it all, it would require worldwide communication and cooperation. The problem that lies within that is all the different beliefs and perspectives that make it hard for two strangers to agree on any one thing. What people fail to realize is that the world can change, if everyone does their part to better their surroundings.
The value of small random acts of kindness could go a long way if everyone made an effort to perform them. Society as a whole needs to learn to give up the act of “paying people back” and work towards “paying people forward.” The idea is self-explanatory. It involves performing a good deed for someone else. Paying it forward can take on a variety of forms. Funding the meal for the next car in the drive-thru is a way to pay it forward. Giving up a spot as first in line at the coffee shop for someone in a rush is another option. These are small ways of paying it forward that can go a long way as they brighten up someone’s day.
Sometimes paying it forward can mean, providing opportunities for someone that was not available in the past. Some individuals are successful in athletics or in business who may not have had the resources necessary for their full development growing up. So to pay it forward, they might provide funding for a new gym where the youth can play sports and practice their skills or invest in better educational resources for the schools in the area. These actions provide no benefits to these professionals other than the feeling of knowing that they are giving opportunities to children that they previously never had.
Paying it forward teaches people the mechanics of reciprocity. The idea that if one person benefits from the act of another, rather than pay the person back, they perform a good deed to someone else. By doing this, it creates a chain of good deeds that can affect positive change in the world. If everyone were to do a positive act for the next person, they would have a better understanding of compassion. Passing down these lessons to the future generations can aid in creating a better world. Everyone is on this earth with a purpose, and that is to leave it in better shape than they found it. Paying it forward is a great way to start fulfilling that purpose.