Outward Thinking

This is going to seem like a parent brag and maybe it is, but my kids seem to teach me much more than I teach them and I hope this will inspire you too.

Last week Lizzy (who is 7) competed in a Ninja Warrior competition. There were five girls who competed in her age group and Lizzy did great and ended up taking 2nd place. 1st Place got $50, 2nd Place got $20 and 3rd Place got $10.

When they brought up all five girls, Lizzy and Maisey (who got 1st) realized that the girls in 4th and 5th didn’t get money or a medal and so all on their own they decided to each give $10 of their winnings to 4th and 5th place so that everyone who competed won something.

We found out when the girl in 4th place and her mother approached us with tears in their eyes and asked if they could take a picture of the girls together.

As a parent you love when your kids show up like this.

In my book, The Power of Influence, I talk a lot about Outward Thinking, and if I’m being honest, I fail at this concept a lot, but I think Lizzy’s example is a great reminder for all of us.

By thinking out instead of in, by concentrating on others instead of on us, a tremendous transformation takes place. We go from inner directed to outer directed, from taker to giver, from self-centered to others-focused, from tightfisted to generous, from shortsighted to farsighted, from selfish to selfless. We begin to see and act on behalf of others’ needs ahead of our own; our thoughts are in terms of “we” instead of “me.”

Throughout history, this outward-thinking key to happiness, success and far-reaching influence has been realized and implemented by leaders in all walks of life. It’s been given many names: pay-it-forward … circle of giving … pass it on … chain of love. Time after time, its worth has been proven, its virtues extolled by those who recognize its value and reap its benefits. But despite its unparalleled record of success and ease of implementation (anyone can do it), the simple practice of outward thinking remains largely unemployed – a mindset openly available, and enormously beneficial, but often ignored.

Amazing things happen when our first priority is concern for others. We forget ourselves. Personal worries and concerns that once felt confining all but disappear. Among the most legendary stories in wartime are tales of the heroic performance of medics, who have received medals for valor far out of proportion to their numbers. The reason can be found in their assignment: to care for the wounded, wherever they might fall. To carry out their duty they forget all else and concentrate solely on taking care of others. Their own interests and needs become secondary, and they accomplish great things.

This is the power of Outward Thinking and I’m grateful for Lizzy for reminding me of this.





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