In the business world, there is often talk of ROI, or return on investment. Meaning, what are you going to receive for the effort, time or money that you are investing in a certain project or person. In many ways, we could benefit greatly by viewing our lives more like a business. ROI can come in handy in lots of areas. Take working out for example. What is the return on investment for spending an hour or so at the gym? Sure, there are sore muscles and the overwhelming need to take a shower. If we consider the long-term ROI, there is a reduction in heart health issues. There is more time, and healthier time to spend with those we love. There is also the fact that bending over to pick something up will not cause us to throw out our back. How about being able to make it up a flight of stairs without a sherpa or oxygen mask?
Another area of life that pays great dividends is being kind. Going the extra mile for others. This is not to say our main motivation for helping others should be to see what we can get out of it. Again, I will quote Earl Nightingale who said we should treat each other as the most important people on the planet for 2 very good reasons. First, because to that person, they are the most important person and second, because that is how we should treat each other. The second reason is what I feel should be our main motivation. When you think of the people in your own life, which ones do you enjoy spending the most time around? The ones who will go the extra mile for you or the ones who are self-centered? Going the extra mile can mean a lot of things. The picture above is a card I received from a coworker after I helped her out. It was a simple thing that took me about 10 minutes to do, but it made a big difference to her. How do you think I felt when she gave me the card? I felt good and appreciated and made my day a little better. That is a great ROI.
This second picture comes from a coffee shop by my work. I stop on the way home on occasion to get a nice refreshing beverage. This day I got a little sandwich too. As busy as they are, they took a second to scribble this little note on the bag. Why would the fellow who did this take the time to thank me and what exactly was he thanking me for? Every day that I come in, I make sure to be kind and cheerful. I appreciate the work that they do and the service they provide me. I do so with the knowledge that I am sure they have customers who do the exact opposite. It is for this reason that I am sure they were thanking me. Once again, when I was expecting just a coffee and a sandwich, how do you think this little note made me feel? If you guessed it lifted my spirits and put a smile on my face, you would be right!
Again, I must say that what you get should not be your main motivation behind doing things. Thinking of what the return on whatever action you are about to take will improve your life. What do you think sending a friend a message letting them know you are thinking about them and appreciate them might be? It would make your friend feel happy. It would probably have them appreciating you as a friend more. They may even return the favor at some point in the future. How about bringing home flowers for the one you love? This would certainly make them feel special. It would show them that you were thinking about them when they were not around and in the future when you do mess up it may end up even helping you. How about being kind in retail settings you find yourself in? Certainly would help the employees day. It may help take the sting out of an experience with a bad customer they might have had. It would also help get you better service next time you are there.
I encourage everyone to take a second and ask themselves, what it the return on the investment I am about to make? If it is eating a doughnut, you might have the ROI of feeling good in the moment, but then what? Would you feel guilty about eating something not so good for you? What would the return on investment be for your health? Same with doing random acts of kindness. You may never see a physical payback for the kind act, but the feeling of self-satisfaction and pride in being a good human is a great return on investment. I would love to hear more examples you can come up with.