Pay It Forward

The expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.  Don’t pay ME back for something nice I have done for YOU, do something nice for someone else.  Pay forward and ask others to do so.  In theory, you’re going to do something nice for someone because you WANT TO, not to get something in return.  Most people feel grateful and want to do something nice back, so point them in the direction of ANOTHER PERSON who needs that ‘payback’ more than you.   In sociology, this concept is called “generalized reciprocity” or “generalized exchange”.

"Win Win For A Cause"

The concept was  described by Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Benjamin Webb dated April 22, 1784:

“I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay ME by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “In the order of nature, we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. The benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”

The Pay It Forward Foundation was established in September 2000 by author Catherine Ryan Hyde and others to educate and inspire students to realize that they can change the world, and provide them with opportunities to do so. By bringing the author’s vision and related materials into classrooms internationally, students and their teachers are encouraged to formulate their own ideas of how they can pay it forward.

I have developed Win Win For A Cause so that I can ‘pay it forward’ with my clients and encourage others to do the same.  Please feel free to comment or give suggestions that may improve upon my idea.  I look to all of you for advice and feedback!


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