The Most Valuable Thing I've Written
Ever heard the phrase give and you will receive? It’s true, kind of. You might not always be the direct recipient of your gifts, but there’s a universal butterfly effect that comes back to reward you for your generosity. Indian culture would call this “karma”. In physics, we’re told that for every action, there’s a reaction. When you smile at someone, they usually smile back.
If you make physical or digital things, you’re giving the universe something that wasn’t there before. That’s one reason accomplishing goals feels so good. In some very small way we validate our existence through our work. If you kept all your ideas a secret, it's difficult for people to talk about how brilliant they or you were. Contrarily, if you publish your thoughts, you might open your soul for criticism, but you also spread your ideas, which can affect people in powerful ways.
Everything is in a constant state of change. How’s that for a paradox. At the very core of our lives, world, every star in the galaxy, there’s the magical component of time. It’s always running. At any random moment, all the particles in the universe will never be exactly the same ever again. The universe evolves. When you give things, you’re contributing to the future state of the universe.
What should you get in return? A smile doesn’t cost much, so you probably will only receive a smile back (which is nice). If you give your opinions, you’ll most likely receive opinions in return. If you donate money, you might receive awards and public recognition. The most valuable thing we can give is our time and energy. These are not renewable. For example, it’s hard to put a price on an afternoon with your family.
Giving your time and energy to others doesn’t have to translate directly to physical time spent interacting with people. Writers for example hide away sometimes years at a time working on a novel. When it’s finally finished, the writer is rewarded by readers who purchase the book, talk about it with their friends, and share their admiration for the story and ideas. Making things is a way to scale your time and energy. It costs an initial investment (a down payment) but once it’s complete it operates independently. You can look at the Mona Lisa hundreds of times without consuming all of its beauty. It’s still a masterpiece.
I’m trying to give things with this blog. Each post is a small brushstroke on a much larger canvas. When you give things away, it makes you happy.