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Dec 08

KFEB #19 – When you do a favour, do not expect a reward; should you expect a reward, it is not a favour.

19) When you do a favour, do not expect a reward; should you expect a reward, it is not a favour.

I have not found where this one comes from and, honestly, I don’t even want to hazard a guess.  Frankly, this one makes a lot of sense – if you do something with the thought of a reciprocal event (like a reward, some future consideration or debt being owed to you) then you really didn’t do a favour.  With the concept of reward in your mind, all you were doing was acting out of self-interest.

Can someone truly act altruistically?  Many would argue “No”, but you can act as selflessly as possible.  If you expect a thank-you from someone you helped from being accosted/mugged/hurt, then it wasn’t selfless – although, if you step in because of genuine interest in helping someone else and accept a heartfelt thank-you, this is more selfless.

Sometimes we need to do things without worrying about the “me” factor – and do not get me wrong, I realize that we (as a North American society) are heavily indoctrinated with the idea that ‘if I don’t look out for number one, then nobody else will’ and consequently the fears associated with being taken advantage of, etc.

The unfortunate consequence of this mentality is rather simple – all interactions become an exchange, with the expectation that something will be immediately given or later owed… A simple “Thank you” no longer suffices in many cases as the news media finds the “feel good” story of someone helping someone else and then runs with it to force someone to take centre stage because they did something nice.

No offence, but how is this newsworthy?  Shouldn’t be, in my opinion.

One of the worst things in our lives is the selfish focus we have on our own satisfaction, and take it as you will.  Selfishness is one of the leading causes of relationship breakdown – romantic and otherwise – as well as one of the greatest roots of our own discontent which subsequently adversely impacts our opinions of ourselves and others.
“What/Who is of use to me?” should not be a guiding light in how we interact with someone… and honestly, doing something for nothing is rather liberating.  I won’t expect anyone to give all of their time to charity, but don’t be afraid of stepping up to help a stranger on occasion – and don’t expect anything in return.  Just do something nice for someone – anyone – like pay for a single mother’s bus fare when she looks like she’s having difficulties, or give your lunch to a homeless person… you’ll be surprised at how good you feel afterward.

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