The Upside of Things by Naponisha L. Sivad
“Let’s Do So For Goodness Sake”
“Let’s Do So For Goodness Sake.” How often are we presented with an opportunity to be of service and prior to helping someone we ponder “What’s in it for me?” Well, some people don’t waste a second asking this question. If their schedule permits or if they are inspired to change their schedule, they seize the opportunity to assist. These types of people seem to have a predisposition to help others. They consistently volunteer to lend a helping hand and are often described as altruistic/beneficent/philanthropic. In case some of you are not familiar with these terms a brief explanation of each follows:
The word altruistic is often used to describe “the characteristic of a person who has an unselfish regard for the welfare of others.”
The word philanthropic is often used to describe “the characteristic of a person who shows goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare.”
The word beneficent is often used to describe “the characteristic of a person who does or produces good; especially: performing acts of kindness and charity.”
There are many theories about the motivation of altruistic/philanthropic/beneficent people. Three such theories follow:
Theory I: The altruistic/philanthropic/beneficent person assists others because doing so generates a sense of feel good for her/makes her feel happy.
Theory II: The altruistic/philanthropic/beneficent person assists others because he believes that doing so will somehow result in someone assisting him in the future during his time of need.
Theory III: The altruistic/philanthropic/beneficent person assists others because he believes helping others amounts to making deposits in a sort of spiritual bank account that he can reap the rewards/gains from in the future through some good fortune, whether it be the receipt of unexpected money, a new job, the birth of a healthy child . . .
Regardless of the altruistic/philanthropic/beneficent person’s motivation, we probably all agree that we enjoy being on the receiving end of the assistance of such a person. Are we not delighted when someone holds the door open for us if they notice we are approaching to enter it and disappointed when someone does not extend this courtesy? Are we not filled with a burst of joy when we find ourselves short a quarter to pay for an item we desire and a stranger enthusiastically gives us a quarter with no expectation of us repaying her? In fact, such small gestures may be a quick pick me up from an otherwise not-so-pleasant day. Imagine this, using a minimum amount of effort and/or expense: the time and energy it takes to hold a door for another or donate a quarter to a stranger, we could trigger consistent, cascading, circulating, rejuvenating moments of delight and joy for each other throughout and around the world. Let’s do so “For Goodness Sake.”