Don’t cheat the world of your contribution. Give it what you’ve got. – Steven Pressfield
What does that mean?
This is an admonition to do your best. I believe that everyone is here because there is one thing that only they can do. Many people give up before they find that special thing. I’m still looking for it. Some have found it. But keep at it and eventually, you will find out what it is, what you are here to contribute.
Why is contribution important?
Contribution’s root word, contribute, is defined by thefreedictionary.com as “To give or supply in common with others; give to a common fund or for a common purpose.” and “To help bring about a result; act as a factor.”
So, what do you contribute to the common purpose of a group or society? How do you act to help others or improve their lives? Some donate time, others donate money. Some donate skills, others donate knowledge. But somehow, most of us contribute something, even if it is just doing what is right, even when we think no one is watching.
What would life be like without people contributing to the world? What would life be like if Thomas Edison had decided to be a farmer? No doubt he would have come up with some very impressive farm machinery, but how much longer would it have been before we got the light-bulb? And the antagonism between he and the team of George Westinghouse and Nichola Tesla gave rise to many of the innovations in electricity, both AC and DC, greatly contributing to what can be called the Era of Electricity.
You might not think your contribution is going to amount to all that much, but many people don’t know that Edison was home schooled by his mom. What do you think of her contribution now? Or that of any teacher, mentor, friend or associate? I don’t think you have to move the world any great distance by yourself to be a contributor. You just have to move it a little.
Where can I apply this in my life?
While going national, or even international, is always an option, most of us don’t have a way of making that sized splash. Instead, I would recommend starting your contributions at home, in the neighborhood and in your city, town or municipality.
What can you do? What are you good at, and what do you like to do? If you like to read, and like kids, volunteer at the local library to read to children after school or on the weekends. Even if it’s just for a half hour once a week, they would love to have you and you can contribute to a child’s education.
What if you like animals? Is there a shelter nearby? They rarely have the staff they need and are always looking for people who can help out. You might start by contributing in the waste management department, but every little bit helps. You might also look into vets who might need someone to help walk dogs or do other simple things around the office. You still get to see some of the ‘patients’ and have some fun. And the contribution is even more subtle here, as you help the animal, and the animal helps other people. And don’t forget the smaller and larger pets. If you are good with birds, hamsters or reptiles, you might be able to help people select a creature that will best suit their needs and lifestyle, either as a pet store employee, or at a petting zoo or something similar.
What if you have some extra money you want to donate to a worthy cause? First you’re going to need to make a list of candidate causes, then do some research. I recently found out that one of the organizations I used to support was passing quite a bit of money on to an organization I most definitely did not support. So my money now goes to other groups that support the same cause, but invest my dollars in a manner more to my liking.
What if you’re short on money, but have some free time? This is an open-field problem, as there are practically a zillion different organizations looking for helpers. Schools, public support groups, private support groups, religious groups, non-religious groups, … The list could go on for far longer than you are likely to read.
If all else fails, ask other people what they do. Ask what causes they support, because you are looking to help, but don’t know where to go. That’s how I got hooked up with Habitat for Humanity, and with the local food bank.
Keep looking, you can contribute. I focused mostly on non-work related things to do to contribute, but even at your job, you can contribute. You probably know a lot more about what goes on than most of the people who come to see you, contribute with your wisdom and knowledge. Sometimes, you can be a huge help just by listening. And thank you for listening (with your eyes, analogy fail!) to me today.
From: Twitter, @Inspire_Us
confirmed at: http://www.joyofquotes.com/authenticity_quotes.html