Saturday, February 1, 2014

... Just Don't Keep Score

A few days ago, I read a blog post (click here to read it yourself) that was too good not to be shared with a teacher or principal.

Immediately, I started to write an email to a principal that I had once worked with. Then my day got busy and it didn't get sent. Eventually, I had the time to polish up this email and send it on its way. But I decided to sleep on it. Sometimes, I regret acting on my impulses. So I waited to see how my words sounded in the morning.

After waking up to a new day, I decided to complete and send off this unsent email. Should I? Shouldn't I?? How would it be received??? Done thinking! SEND.

In the millisecond that it takes to send your words off into a world where you cannot take them back again, the deed was done. No time for second guessing myself. My day walked in the door and I (almost) forgot what I had just done.

The day got busy and I had a slight twinge of regret when I didn't receive an immediate response from my email. Then I subconsciously filed it away under "The Best of Intentions Gone Awry" and stopped worrying about it.

At one point in the day, I reminded myself that it is best not to 'keep score'. If a person expects every single action to be reciprocated in kind, they will live a life of subconsciously recording What I Have Done and comparing it to What I Have Received in Return.

You simply can't win at that game. Because you never quite know when a small deed has made an impact.

Sometimes you receive an immediate response. Other times, there may be a slight delay. Then there are times that you truly have no idea how much of a difference you have made until years later. I can only guess that there may be even more times that you simply never know. The odd time, you don't 'score' at all. In fact, I have been handed the odd 'penalty' from time to time.

What I have learned is that I am the one who reaps the biggest reward in the end. Simply by doing what feels-right-at-the-time. With little importance (other than not wanting to anger, offend or hurt) placed on 'winning' an appropriate response.

Different people construe actions and the written word in different ways. Five people could see, hear or read the same thing and take five different meanings from it. And they could have twenty different ways of responding to the above mentioned actions.

No response does not always indicate indifference. It can be so very, very many things. From lack of time, to lack of words, to the wrong timing, to all else that may be going on within another person's life at the time...

I have come to believe that if I send out words or give something to the world with the best interests of another human being my only motivating factor, I 'win' at the game where I don't keep score.

Sometimes good intentions come back to me in the form of a gift. Sometimes they come back to me years later. Sometimes they don't come back at all. But always, always ... I feel better for having followed my instincts.

Today? I received a gift. I received a response from the principal that I wrote to. It started like this:  "Thank you so much for thinking of me and then sending this note. It truly made my day! ..."

I suddenly felt that it is very right to follow through on those little thoughts when you think of someone in a positive way.

You never know what an impact you can make, simply by being kind. You may be holding the key that unlocks a window of 'happy' into someone's day.

If you are thinking of someone, let them know it. If someone has made a difference, tell them. If someone looks a little down and out, spread a little bit of sunshine into their day. You will not regret it.

... just don't keep score. That negates the goodness that you just shared.

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