One dark and stormy night I was driving in my olden 2002 Honda Civic back from some event.
I was nearing my apartment, with only about 10 miles to go.
The car's normally pleasant tenor voice suddenly became baritone.
Though I know a bit about computers, I don't really know much about cars. After attempting to fix the car by "turning it off and on again" (apparently this doesn't work as well with cars), I managed to get the car the rest of the way back to my apartment by driving real slow-like.
My landlord Mike, owner of a little bicycle and engine shop directly next door to my apartment, heard the car rolling into the parking lot and came over to investigate. "Got a problem with your muffler?" Apparently I did!
"Here, I'll take a look at it and see what I can do," Mike offered. Surprised, I agreed to leave the car with him and went about my business.
The next day as I walked out the door, Mike waved me down and said, "Hey it looked like your muffler was about to become 4 different pieces. So I did some spot welding and got everything all fixed up good as new!" And he refused to take any payment.
I was floored. Who "does some spot welding" out of the goodness of their heart? Apparently the answer is Mike, that's who.
And this wasn't an isolated incident.
Over the course of my stay at Mike the Landlord's, he did some free painting of my walls, lent me his van to move furniture for a whole week, sold my car completely himself, and bought me lunch, all without being asked and all without taking any kind of cash money payment.
Mike has made a fan for life. Who do you think I recommend for renting apartments in that town?
This spirit of generosity and abundance pervades Mike's being. In the process of lending me his van, he showed me around his house in the woods. He and his wife built a huge garage/activities lounge building where he regularly has 70 person feasts during the holidays, inviting people from the community. He has kids from the community over and teaches them outdoorsy skills on his property.
And ya know what else? It was when I had lunch with Mike towards the end of my stay that I realized he is also probably one of the wealthiest and well-connected person in that small Indiana town.
He's a successful businessman. He's been running his own shop for 20 years. He doesn't take crap from people ("The customer is not always right, David!").
But he freely provides value to people. He has a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity.
A number of cultures and religions have come upon the idea of karma.
"What goes around comes around." The golden rule. Simply marking generosity as a virtue. I think they all point to a universal truth.
While it's possible to be successful by being tight-fisted or screwing over as many people as possible, it's definitely not the only way, a very fun way, or even a very effective way.
My new mantra: Provide value.