The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


When someone shares that he is selfish, my experience is, that it rarely is the case.

In an exchange with some fellow learners, we talked about our engagement with other participants of the workshop. Our idea was to enhance our own learning of the material by teaching others what we had learned until now. We assumed, that being ahead with the lessons we now could help others who were reaching these lessons.

Some of us shared how they learned from others and wanted to pay it forward to others.

Others shared that they were selfish and would be helping others for their own benefit.

All of us were there to do the same task: help others to learn and learn more ourselves.

So, why do some pay it forward and others call themselves selfish?

There are a few ways to see the situation.

For some, it is challenging to do something for themselves and it feels more secure to help others. For others, the idea of being able to help others is challenging and they fear that their help isn’t as useful as they’d like it to be. In both cases, the basic question is one of self-worth.

For some, it is easier to see their learning. Others will be doubtful about their learning and at ease to see how much others learned by being helped. In both cases, the basic question is if it is possible to see one’s impact.

Whatever the reasons to see more of this or that, the source of seeing more of oneself or the other is the habit to compare. It’s looking at life as a competition where one or the other comes out as a winner.

There is another way to look at it. It’s the idea of being grateful to be able to help others and learn from doing so. Done together it’s possible to create a mutual benefit. That’s far away from being only selfish or only paying it forward.


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