October 31, 2011

A friend recently bought us $100 worth of groceries!  A Shopping-cart full!!  It wasn’t a casual thing.  Maybe for some a hundred dollars is small change, but not for me, and not for my friend.  A hundred dollars is a lot of money for her.  It was a gift of love and extravagant generosity.  We were blessed to receive it.

And a day or so later I stopped for gas, and because of my friends generosity (And the clever policy at the supermarket) I saved 20 cents a gallon on my gas.  I was like I got a gallon of gas for free.  In reality it was as if my friend’s gift paid a dividend.

And it got me to thinking.  What do we do throughout the ordinary course of daily events that pay dividends?  What do we do, make or give, that pays out more than expected, that gives a bonus, that leaves behind a positive reminder?

I know the whole idea of Pay It Forward has been around for a while now.   That’s the notion that if someone does a good deed for you, that you in turn should do a good deed for another.  I like that idea quite a bit.  But having spent more than a decade in the financial services industry, I have learned a bit about the power of compound interest.  If you make money on your investments, then leave the earnings alone and they too will earn, and your net return will be larger, your wealth will increase.

That’s the idea behind paying dividends.  I don’t love my friend more because I got a gas bonus, I just love her more often.  I received a dividend after she left and was again reminded of her kindness, her generosity, her character.  So I began the think about the ordinary stuff of life differently.  How can I make someone’s day today in such a way that they will think fondly of me (or of the God I serve) not only today, but next week, maybe even next year?

Ways to pay dividends without a lot of cash.

Smile more.  It almost always will brighten someone elses day freely; effortlessly.

Be nice.  This may take more effort than smiling, but think of how surprised you are when someone treats you more nicely than you expect.

Serve.  Do something unexpected, and un-asked-for and you will pay dividends into someone’s life.

Thank.  As Madame Blueberry says, “A thankful heart is a happy heart.”  Live a life of thanksgiving and you pay dividends, not only into the lives of others, but into your own account as well

Connect.  Reach out to someone.  Maybe it is someone who is lonely or maybe it’s simply a relative you haven’t connected with recently.  You will make their day because you thought of them.

A few other ways to pay dividends into the accounts of those who matter the most would include:  Teach.  Clean.  Pray.   For a change, do what you do for a living for free.  Or look for a way to do something completely out of your skill set, gift mix or comfort range.  People will definitely notice that.

I have receive unearned dividends from a few people who continually find ways to pay into my life.  I have been enriched by others, not only financially.   I hope I can do the same.



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