The power of goodwill

26 Jul

Here’s a radical idea: Do something good without any expectation of a return.

Mentor a student. Give your time to a charity. Write a piece of work that a colleague is struggling with. Help a business get on social media.

When I say “without any expectation of a return”, I really mean zero expectation.

Don’t wonder if it will do your karma some good. Or improve your standing in the community. Or even make you feel good about yourself.

Those are all returns.

Do it because it is the right thing to do. Then move on.

The 2009 winner of University of Victoria’s Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year awards, Sir Terrence Matthews of Mitel, put this magnificent thought in my head a year ago and it has burned a hole in my brain ever since.

Give it away. Without any expectation of a return. Move on.

It was the single most powerful thing anyone has every said to me.

Other than, “Son, it’s better to have everyone think you’re a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Thanks Dad.

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6 Responses to “The power of goodwill”

  1. manu July 26, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Hi Doug,

    So true. “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Knowledge never decreases by being shared.”

  2. Deb July 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    This idea was also put forward in the movie “Pay it Forward” – great concept, great karma.

  3. dougbrowncreative July 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Hey Manu – that’s the Big Guy under the Bodhi tree! Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    Deb, it might be great karma, but I still believe the spirit of the thing only works when you put all thoughts of karmic payback out of your mind. I appreciate you leaving your comment.

  4. designingrenee November 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    You know it’s right when it feels good and warm in the belly.

    I agree with what you’ve said here (as usual).

    Have you read Do Good Design?

    http://www.davidberman.com/social/dogood.php

    I heard about this book early in my education, and feel that giving about 4 hours a week of volunteer design / promotion work has GOT to change the world.

  5. dougbrowncreative November 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    Nice thought Renee. I don’t look for the warm feeling in my belly though: that’s a return. I think about how busy I am and the other things I need to get done. That keeps it in line with the principle.

    It’s a good link too. I like that people are doing this.

  6. designingrenee November 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Good point about the “return”. Many endeavors are excellent on their own merit, even without the warm fuzzy, either before or after.

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