Yesterday I got one of the craziest emails of the past few months.
My Alma Mater, Messiah College, wanted to use my story to inspire prospective students. All I had to do was answer a few questions about my journey, how Messiah influenced my personal development, and what I want to do in the future–then they were going to feature my profile on their website!
It was crazy. You know why? Because I haven’t even been gone from Messiah College for two years yet. I estimate 700-900 students graduate there every year, and they wanted to highlight MY story? My goodness. Either everybody else isn’t doing much, or I’ve really done something noteworthy. I still feel like I’m nowhere near where I want to be.
But here’s the rub. I didn’t exactly enjoy my time at Messiah if you want me to be completely honest. Ninety percent of it was my fault, but when it came time to answer the question about how Messiah impacted me, it took me a few minutes to think about a proper answer. I could’ve been bitter about it. I could’ve just shrugged it off and told them tough luck.
But then I realized that I’m responsible for my own happiness. I could’ve done much more during my time there to make the most of it, but I didn’t. All of the blame should be placed on me.
Here’s the point: I decided to help them and create a profile. I also decided to answer the questions they gave me honestly. My time at Messiah was difficult, but it was good for me in the end. They have great staff, great students, great coaches, and fantastic programs.
Generosity while expecting nothing in return is in short supply these days. I could’ve just ignored Messiah when they reached out to me, but I think that it’s important to give back in any situation you possibly can.
It was funny, because yesterday an old friend of mine from Messiah messaged me asking about how he could travel the world for extended periods of time like me. I love when people reach out to me, and I spent a good bit typing up a thoughtful (and actionable) response for him to read. In fact, I probably lost thirty minutes of my day to it, but I really enjoyed it.
There’s a few reasons we should hop at being generous every chance we get:
It Makes Us Feel Good
To me, helping somebody for no reason is the best feeling in the world. I’m flattered they would even look to me for guidance, and I’m also happy to see others chasing their dreams instead of simply talking about it.
Karma Comes Back Around
You never know what could happen later on. What if the person you help goes on to become a best-selling author or starts their own company? The world works in weird ways sometimes. In some situations you can help people who already do have a number of resources with which they can return the favor.
You Might Learn Something Yourself
I got to interview one of my favorite screenwriters for an article at the Huffington Post, and I learned so much about the filmmaking business it was crazy. Sometimes when you help other people, you get to learn something in the process yourself.
You Never Know The Impact You Could Be Making
I mean, what if your advice inspires someone to take the first step in a journey that will change their lives for the better? You never know what five minutes of your time could do for somebody.
It’s The Right Thing To Do
We’re supposed to help each other as human beings. If you don’t have the time to, that’s fine, but we should all do our part to lend a helping hand.