Much has been written about the need for and the power of generosity and kindness in our society, including the notion of “paying it forward.” The expression has been popularized by the best selling novel Pay It Forward by Catherine Hyde Ryan, which was adapted into a movie starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt.
New research shows a clear link between the act of “paying it forward” and generosity.
Paying it forward now happens on a regular basis in fast-food or drive through outlets. A record was reportedly reached in Winnipeg, Canada, when 228 consecutive cars paid it forward at a Tim Hortons.
Adam Grant, author of the best-selling book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, argues success is often due to our generosity with our time and knowledge. He identifies the population as being either givers, matchers (people who help only those who reciprocate) and takers (people who demand help but never offer). Grant suggests several easy strategies to become a giver, such as the “five-minute favor” by referring a request to someone who can be more helpful, or by asking a person whom you have helped not to reciprocate, but rather, to pay it forward to someone else.