By Michael G. Rayel, MD
For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading a book which I bought in 2006 but forgot or deferred to read because I thought it was just a rehash of old, worn-out ideas. Anyway, the book “The Laws of Lifetime Growth” by Sullivan and Nomura has been uniquely engaging.
For its size — a small, 127- page book — it contains profound ten life gems or laws that can guarantee extraordinary growth for some people.
Out of ten, three Sullivan and Nomura’s laws have caught my attention. Let me discuss each one in detail.
First law: “Always make your contribution bigger than your reward.”
Are you the type of person who dwells on getting rewards, on being noticed? Or do you focus on serving others without fanfare, without prospects of any compensation?
To attain personal growth, you should focus on service or contribution rather on the prize. As human beings, it’s normal to expect appreciation or payment for our efforts. We deserve some pat in our backs once in a while. But we should concentrate more on giving what we have and on selflessly sharing our talents instead. Reward will come, whether we like it or not, because it is a natural by-product of our contribution to the universe.
You reap what you sow. Generate negativity and get negativity in return. Try to spread rumors about your friends and soon, they'll talk about your shadowy past. However, when you give a smile, people will smile back at you and shower you with kindness you richly deserve. When you share your talent and wealth to others, you receive unexpected, multiple rewards. Simply put, you only receive what you willingly give and only gain what you selflessly share.
Second law: “Always make your performance greater than your applause.”
Always do your best. Show your enthusiasm and disciplined effort in anything you do. Don’t perform or act just to please others. Don’t start a new project expecting a big applause. Don't create something special and expensive to simply impress your neighbors.
In many offices, it’s amazing to see how some people show their bravado and commitment only when their bosses or coworkers are watching. But when nobody is around, these people resign to their own corners and play computer games or connect with long lost friends through online chats — during office hours. No wonder, many important documents are left unfiled, and many significant tasks are left undone.
Even if nobody knows what you're trying to accomplish, always show quality work. Motivation should come from within. Always focus on performance rather on how others respond. Most of the time, you have to do what’s necessary and what's right even if nobody recognizes your endeavor.
Third law: “Always make your gratitude greater than your success.”
Have an attitude of gratitude daily. Thank those who have helped you along the way — friends, loved ones, and heavenly creator. Without them, you could not have made it.
Without your partner, you could not have felt the joy of being loved and being in love.
Without your friends’ encouragement and presence, your high school days would not have been more enjoyable. Without your parents’ inspiration, advice, and financial support, you could not have navigated life’s difficult, unpredictable ups and downs. Without your employer, you could not have experienced your first fulfilling job, your first paycheck, your new bungalow overlooking a scenic river, and your shiny hybrid car that zooms quietly in the neighborhood.
Also, thank those who have been against you all these times. Without your enemy’s frequent antagonism, you could not have learned the art of negotiation. Without failures, challenges, defeats, and disappointments, you could not have gained wisdom from your previous hurts.
In everything, always be thankful!
Dr. Michael G. Rayel — author, game inventor, and psychiatrist — has created the Oikos Game Series to promote emotional health and A 31-Day Series to help kids and teens. Since 2005, he has published Oikos’ Insights! www.oikosinsights.com as an online resource for personal development. Visit www.oikosglobal.com for more info. Also, he has offered psychiatry board review for ABPN II. Visit www.psychedu.com for details.