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From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom... A common man's journey
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

My little contribution


So often, we are faced with situations in life where our contribution to change things around us seem just so little, so tiny that it seems like a waste of effort. Again, it is about how we look at it. A different perspective can change things around, and give us the motivation, desire and the energy to continue to change.

In my teenage days, my mom used to tell me a story of a little bird who saw a house on fire, and decided to do something about it. It started to carry its beak full of water from the nearby pond to throw it on the fire engulfed house - giving its best shot to extinguish the fire. Knowing very well, that it cannot effectively put off the fire, the bird perhaps could have given up. But it did not. It kept trying till its last ounce of energy allowed it to. Whether the fire was finally extinguished or not is not the point here. The point is what drives us, and what are we here for. Of course, you can read details about this story and many other similar stories around it, in the book Happiness Unlimited.

We face this day in and day out in our lives. 
Whether we should break the traffic signal like everyone around us seem to be doing - knowing very well that we alone cannot change the mindset of millions around us?
Whether we should throw the litter on the roadside like everyone around us seems to assume as their birth right or should we have the patience and the power to carry the litter home with us, and throw it in the dustbin? 
Whether we should plant a few trees every year in spite of the fact that the addition of these few tress is no match to the reckless cutting of trees and human greed?
Whether we should be honest enough to pay the extra change that we received from the shopkeeper by mistake or just enjoy with the extra money?
Whether we should resist corruption knowing very well that it will only give hardships to us and our family and will effectively not bring any change to the system?

The list is endless. It goes on and on...

Our contribution always seems just so little, so tiny that it is highly unlikely to impact the society as a whole. Still, should we? Should we still take the pain? Should we still go through the struggle?

Yes, we definitely should. We should still go there and make an attempt to change, just like the little bird. And the reason is fairly simple. 
We are not here to change others. We are not here to change our neighbor, our friend, our society or our children. They will have to change themselves. We cannot 'enforce' change on anyone other than ourselves. 
We are here, on this planet, only to transform ourselves. And all these hardships and pain must be taken up for our own transformation. When we transform ourselves, trust me, someone is going to look at us and take the baton forward, and then the next one, and the next one. 
That is how it actually works in the real world - much like the way compounding works in a financial domain. It just does not seem to take off in the first few weeks or months or years. But then you see a little movement, and then a little more, and sooner rather than later, you see an avalanche of followers. This is what we call as Delayed Gratification, and it works in all domains of life.

Recently, I saw a real example of this effort from one of our readers - Ms Rita Cooper from Dubai. She is a marketing director in a big corporate house in Dubai. She saw that people around her are earning well, but still struggling to be happy in life. She saw this as an opportunity to create an impact. 
She decided to gift both the books - From the Rat Race to Financial Freedom as well as Happiness Unlimited to her entire staff. This was her "little contribution" to start impacting lives around her. She understands that it may seem too little to change the world around her, but she is doing this to transform herself as a giver, rather than expecting something in return.

When asked, this is what she had to say of her decision:
Seeing stress ridden individuals who have no idea of financial planning (though they believe they have), and the fact that they are completely confused about life and happiness, I took a decision to spread the word by gifting Manoj Arora's books to all my staff. This is my little contribution to increase the happiness content in their lives as well as get them and their families a more financially secure future, so that they can go on to chase their true calling in life.
~ Rita Cooper (Director - Marketing, Emirates Int. Tel. Co., Dubai)

She says she is inspired by me, but again, I believe I am not here to change anyone. I am here to give my little contribution to the world around me, and I know there will be people who will pick up the baton and take it forward. And once someone takes over the baton, that will be 'my little contribution' to change the world around me. Whats yours?


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