There was a man who came to collect fruit from his fig tree every year…
but each time he came back the tree had no fruit to offer. By the third year the man was upset with the tree and asked his servant to cut it down because all it was doing was taking from the soil. The servant suggested to give the tree another chance and he would work on the soil, and if the tree doesn’t bear fruit by the fourth year, they will take it down.
Simon Sinek is a marketing expert, and he talks about an experiment he performed. He persuaded a homeless woman to change her sign that said something like, “I am homeless,” to, “If you only give once a month, think of me next time.” She made more money in two hours than she used to make all day. I saw a video with the same effect. There was a blind guy asking for money, and the sign said, “Help me. I am blind.” A lady stopped and changed his sign to, “It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.” Then this guy made more money, too.
In the past I remember working only for money. I wanted everyone to look at me and focus on my car and my clothes and to give me more, and I was not genuinely thankful for people’s services. I learned to say thank you, but it was from my teeth out.
Many of us think about our needs only and what others can do for us…
but never think about how we can contribute to others’ lives. This is what made the difference in the signs of the homeless people. While many of the homeless people focus on “help me” by writing “I am homeless,” “I have 5 children,” “I am a veteran” and so on, the new message in the signs focuses on others instead of themselves. Now the homeless person is doing a legitimate transaction. He or she is offering “feeling good for giving,” and we are giving the person money.
It feels good to help. I have stopped to help people move their broken-down cars from the middle of traffic. I have helped people change their flat tire by the highway or load up their trucks when they lost equipment on the highway, I contribute monthly to different charities, and I look forward to see how I can help people who want and need help.
We always want something in exchange when we do something, and oftentimes the exchange for helping others is just the feeling we get from it. I am not only helping others because I want to be the nice guy and I want recognition. I am doing it because it makes me feel good. Not too long ago I went to the pool and I saw two guys struggling with the lockers. They lost their two quarters, and I had two extra ones. One guy was going to run downstairs and change his bill. I just told him that I had two extra quarters and gave them to him. The other guy told him to give me his one dollar bill. I know we’re talking about just two quarters. I told the guy to keep his bill. I almost wanted to tell him, “Don’t take my joy away. I prefer my joy than the extra 50 cents.” No matter if we do it with time, physical effort or money, we always end up buying the feeling of helping.
I learned that we release oxytocin when we help others…
This hormone contributes to our happiness. The best thing about helping others is that not only the person who is helping releases more oxytocin but so does the person who is being helped and the people watching the charitable event.
I can say that part of my success in life is thanks to practicing the act of helping others without expecting something in exchange. Our members at Custom Body Fitness can perceive my intentions, and therefore they trust us with their health.
When I was focusing only on me, I was miserable. I thought I was happy because I did not know better or how to improve my happiness. All I knew was taking from people. It was very hard to drop $2 in the church basket. Can you imagine giving $5? I was stuck. And no matter how hard I tried, I was always broke, and I felt unloved. I had three jobs where I was being paid well. But I spent my money either on partying, on material things that lose value, or fixing my car. I was like the fig tree. I was not giving fruit. Thank God He gave me another year to show that I can provide fruit.
Now, I don’t have these problems. Helping others not only makes me happy, it also helps me with the law of “what you sow is what you reap.” I can see myself progressing in life. In addition, many people accept me because they know I care about them, and being accepted is a human need.
I don’t think anymore about others serving me only. I think about how I can improve people’s lives. What can I do extra? What do I need to learn? How I can contribute to positively improve the community? Now it is mostly about others and not much about me.
When people are serving me in a restaurant, retail store or anywhere else, I appreciate their job, and I understand that what they do is not easy, and thanks to them I am getting the service or product that I need. We are all here to serve, and when we understand this, life is fulfilling.
When we don’t give fruit we end up like the fig tree, ready to be taken down. When we give fruit everyone likes us and they are ready to come to us and take our fruit to use it. This is the reason fruit trees exist and we exist: to provide for others.