it seems so simple to some; the idea of doing good, helping others, paying it forward. i believe those people who understand and live by that concept, those are the people who fall into the first category. those who believe they must do something to make this world better. they don’t want to leave until or unless they do. often it isn’t just one good deed, it is usually a series of them or a lifetime of good-deed-doing. sometimes it is their life mission to do as much, and give as often as they can. they gladly pay it forward, they join or even found grassroots movements, charitable organizations or drives to collect for great causes. they donate their time and a portion of their own money, whether it is a given percentage or in some cases as much as they can. they donate to causes they believe in. causes they feel will help to right a wrong. they feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the babes. they defend those who can’t defend themselves against the bullies of the world. they might even become preachy or obnoxious in a quest to get others to understand, to help them “get” it. even those with a deep seated desire to please everyone, have been known to lay it all on the line to bring others on board. even those who abhor offending others, are sometimes willing to cross the line in their quest to educate, or share the knowledge. regardless if it is an occasional share on facebook, or full blown diatribe, the desire to illuminate that ideal to those still in the dark; that desire can consume them. often it is worth the risk of offending or alienating, because they know that when one gives selflessly of themselves, it is they themselves who benefit the most.
that is the first type of person. i know i am not the first to form this idea or concept. i recently heard a wonderful speech, posted on facebook, from joe ehrmann. mr. ehrmann is a former nfl player and now pastor, motivational speaker and all around great person. in this speech he was talking about redefining masculinity and he believes to do so requires rewiring our current thinking. he also believes during our lives there are two critical things we must do. number one is to be loved and in turn to love. number two; is that we need to make a difference. i strongly recommend looking for him on youtube.
the second type of person is the one who is mostly indifferent to most everyone else and the planet in general. it doesn’t necessarily occur to them there is more. more than making a living, paying the bills, providing a nice home for the family. maybe even more than that, sometimes they are obsessed with owning more, bigger, better. they take literally that phrase about the one who dies with the most toys winning. often their lives revolve around not just a job or career, but an all encompassing lifestyle driven to succeed in acquiring. this type of person, is okay with just being. they don’t have time and are not interested in doing good, but at the same time, they aren’t bad people or evil. they are lukewarm, and are caught up in making a good life for themselves and their loved ones. often the only time they perform a good deed is if there is something in it for them. often the motivation is to look good in someone else’s eye. the community, their family or their church or synagogue. on the same hand, they don’t do bad things either, unless someone else threatens them or a loved one with harm, either real or imagined; sometimes it is just a threat to their current lifestyle. if taking action against said threat causes harm to another, they perceive it to be okay, because after all their world revolves only around themselves.
the third type of person is ruthlessly out to satisfy themselves and only themselves; they are the bullies of the world. usually a narcissist, always an egotist and occasionally a sociopath, this person rarely, if ever thinks of others. whether they are acquiring some type of power, wealth or sexual gratification, they sometimes seem to completely lack a conscience, or have learned to stifle it. it never crosses their mind that doing for others would fill the large void in their soul; a hole that otherwise, can never be filled. they can’t comprehend doing good for others, the idea is lost on them.
obviously none of us fit neatly into any one of these categories. it’s easy to get caught up in thinking we do. i would bet most see themselves in the first group. some, perhaps would happily and perhaps with a bit of pride, put themselves in the middle group. sadly, some might even boastfully place themselves in the last group. the fact is we all have some of each in us, but many would never acknowledge or admit that; not even to themselves. we all have a yin and yang. even the most caring person, on occasion has a selfish thought or goal. the same is true for the most wicked. at one time, they may have done something good, even if only to receive a reward or bit of glory.
the question now is this. which group do you want to be in?
perhaps even more important; regarding your legacy, when others remember you, which group will they most associate you with?