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Politics & Power

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Reforming America: Giving Back

Sometimes the hardest thing to do when we find success is to remember that we werenít always so fortunate. While many talk a good game far fewer actually give back in meaningful ways. In the world of the wealthy this is especially true. For every Bill Gates who gives millions of his own money to help kids get a better education there is at least one Bernie Madoff who is quoted as saying to a fellow inmate of the people he stole billions from ďF**k my victims.Ē What the Bernie Madoffs of the world leave behind it falls to the decent people who have found success to make up for.

For most of us success comes in much smaller forms but it is no less important for us to give back if we want our society to grow and improve. I can guarantee you that every successful person in the world has gotten a hand up at some point along the way. We may not even have recognized it at the time but when we stop and think about it someone somewhere who had no obligation to help us probably did so at some point and it made the difference between success and failure in an endeavor that ultimately contributed to our success.

When I speak of giving back Iím also not just talking about throwing money at problems. In many ways that can do more harm than good. There is an old axiom that if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for life. As people who have found measures of success in our lives we have things to offer people searching for success that are far more valuable than mere money. For example, when I started working at the company I am currently with, I knew basically nothing about the industry I had just started working in. Thanks to many mentors and teachers along the way I am now relatively knowledgeable about the industry and have moved up the ladder to be in a position of some respect within the company. If I were to simply take what I learned and not share that knowledge with others I would be doing a disservice to not only my company but to the value of my own efforts along the way and the efforts of those who taught me.

You might ask how it is doing a disservice to myself to not give back. The truth is that from a career standpoint it might be advantageous to keep my knowledge to myself because it makes me more valuable to the company in a sense because I possess knowledge that others donít. On the flip side though if I want to advance there need to be people that can take on my current duties so that I can move on to other things. By helping my coworkers learn what I know I also open the door to new opportunities for myself by making it so that I donít need to be tied to the role I currently play in the organization. While teaching others I also have the opportunity to learn from them and gain knowledge I might not have had previously. By not being selfish with my knowledge I open doors to new opportunities for myself and the people I share my knowledge with.

Giving back can open many doors. Again from my own experience, when I have volunteered at schools teaching children I have had the opportunity to work with teachers and learn how they do what they do. As a father it has helped me immensely in teaching my own son. Iíve learned techniques for holding childrenís attention and imparting knowledge to them that I would not have known had I not volunteered in the classroom. While volunteering at other events I have met people who later would become valued contacts that helped advance my career. By helping others I helped myself.

It is important to remember that none of us can find success without the help of others. Likewise when we find success it is incumbent upon us to share our success with others to enrich the whole of our society. Even when we donít realize it at the time, helping others is most often also helping ourselves. Beyond the personal gains is the deeper meaning we give our lives when we give back. At the end of the day you might be tired and worn out but somehow you feel better about yourself when you know that you have helped another person that needed you. That alone is worth the effort. Add to that the other benefits you can often find from helping others it is without question a win-win proposition.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom | Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article



Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net





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