Pay It Forward: Small changes are still changes

18 Aug


The act of voluntarily helping another without expectation of payback — from the book Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and the film starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Jon Bon Jovi, Angie Dickenson.

Pay It Forward is about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better — and to put that plan into action.

The expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead. Somebody does a nice thing for you and you “pay it forward” by doing a nice thing for the next person. You could do something nice for a total stranger and when they ask you how to pay you back, tell them to pay it forward instead.

If making the world a better place for everyone is important to you, then definitely watching this movie is something you would like to do. 

The idea is to help three people in need and when they ask you what do you want in return, all you have to do is tell them that they will not want to do it. Of course, this is reverse psychology and the more you say they will not want to do it, the more they will want to do it. When they pester you for an answer, you then tell them that they have to helped three other people in return.

This strategy is called “Pay It Forward“. The word Forward meaning instead of paying back the favour to the person who helped you (who has been helped before by others) they will find three other people to return the favour. They do not have to do it, but they will definitely want to do it, because they have been helped unselfishly and it truly is a pleasure to help without asking for any reward in return.

related real story:

That I believe is the message of this movie. To be touched by someone who has helped you without asking anything in return, because the helper has also been touched by someone who helped him without asking for anything in return, and it goes on ad infinitum.

Is it really an attempt to create utopia? I believe that inside everyone, there is goodness, even in the most hardened heart, and we can unlock this beautiful person when we touch him/her, when we helped him/her when he/she is at a vulnerable point in his/her life, when he/she was truly crying outfor help. 9/11 and the tsunami has shown that humanity is ready to emabrace this idea to alleviate pain and suffering and helped one another.

It is not about giving people fishes and making them dependent on us, it is also about teaching them how to fish for themselves. That is not the issue, the issue is doing something for others without any ulterior motive, because nobody is going to monitor you if you do not continue the idea of helping three people.

There is something appealing about doing it out ofa pure desire to help without asking for anything in return, simply because you have been on the receiving side before and you somehow have faith that the person that you have touched, is going to continue touching others, lighting one heart after another.

Remember, what goes around comes around. We reap what we sow.

Others compare this formula with pyramid selling or multi level marketing. Although the multiplying effect is similar, Pay it Forward is not similar in intent to pyramid or multi levelmarketing. There is no intention to benefit when one pays it forward.

Three cheers for Pay It Forward and three cheers for the movie Pay It Forward.


One Response to “Pay It Forward: Small changes are still changes”


  1. Music Mondays: Vol. 1 Disc 3 « the Squished Diorama - August 23, 2011

    […] Pay It Forward: Small changes are still changes ( […]


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