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Givers and Takers

Have we lost the ability to identify the difference between net givers and net takers of energy?

I’ll be honest with you; I’m coming at this from a prejudiced standpoint. I was brought up to anticipate the possibilities of what might come next, to take responsibility for myself and never to be ‘precious’. You’ll know I haven’t always lived up to this, who does? But, as I get older, I am grateful for what I was taught.  True, sometimes it was taken a bit far – my first driving experience as a learner involved a dual carriageway, vainly looking in the mirror to suss out my appearance met with predictions that the devil would appear on my shoulder and not knowing how to manage my limits in terms of alcohol, or failing to be on form when a task needed to be completed, made me a sucker. My pocket money matched what I earned, and I was still fairly young when my wonderful parents upped and went to live on the other side of the planet. Not so much cutting the apron strings, instead shredding them for good. All of which forces one to consume life with a healthy dose of realism – or at least that is what I tell myself.

Those of you who know us will know my business partner and wife comes from Newcastle – a region characterised by a lack of preciousness. Any of you from this region will confirm it is less about what someone thinks they should do or shouldn’t do and more about the coalface. Definitely not precious. It’s about ensuring you contribute more than you take because, to be frank, if you don’t, someone will pick up your shoes and wear them for you. So, like you and our team, we do not entertain ‘preciousness’. We are focused on ensuring we look out for one another. We are constantly checking that we contribute more than we take.

Which is perhaps why we have to ask: do we all now find ourselves a little at odds with some aspects of the world out there? Noisy politicians who think Brexit is purely about what the UK wants as opposed to a win/win for everyone, impatient drivers who think their journey is more important than those of their fellow road users, those that think life should be fair (as opposed to people aiming to be fair), and individuals who bang on about what they’re entitled to from the state and NHS as opposed to how they might help contribute? There are a growing number of people it seems who are completely unaware of the times we are living in and are ignorant when it comes to the reality of budget limits. And let’s not even talk about the proud descendant of an immigrant family from Scotland who wants to stop other well-intentioned immigrants from entering the USA – let’s not even go there.

Let’s face it in the animal kingdom if you wimp out, you die. If you betray the rest of the pack, they cast you out. If you’re not a net contributor, they eat you.  I’m not suggesting for one minute we should follow the animals’ example; our drive to do good means we look out for and protect those genuinely less fortunate than ourselves. Being socially responsible and civilised means being considerate to others – a central value for our team, but we worry, and we’re sure you do too, your determination to see the world out of other people’s eyes and think before you act, allows others to be less thoughtful. M. Scott Peck, the famous American psychologist who wrote the ‘Road less travelled’ and ‘People of the lie’, helped society to define these issues. In his mind it was clear – net takers failed to recognise the evil within themselves.

So, we wondered whether it was time to band together and shout at those politicians, those drivers, and those that think we’re unfair and make it clear – you need to be a net giver NOT a net taker of energy if you want the world to be a better place!

As we begin the new year, many of us are trying to make changes to our habits and better ourselves in some way. Whether that be starting a new diet, drinking less alcohol or even giving veganuary a try, perhaps the real resolution we should all be making comes from this quote, “If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now”- Aurelius.

Here’s hoping 2019 is a year where more people understand that they have to take responsibility, they have to contribute beyond their own agenda if they want to get the most out of life. A rich life is, after all, a result of the contest in generosity, not the contest to gain the most.

10th January 2019

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