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Random Acts of Kindness – What can we learn from the Beast from the East?

Posted: 5th March 2018

Unless you are have been hiding under a stone for the past few days, then like me, you have been caught up in the Beast From the East, where the first day of Spring saw around 3 foot of snow fall outside my Edinburgh flat!

The entire central belt came to a standstill, airports closed, there was no public transport and there was shock horror in every Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys as they ran out of bread and milk. It was snowmageddon as every school and public building closed. Luckily my local Lidl was within walking distance and I got my daily workout fighting through the snow drifts.

But what resounded across Edinburgh in the 48 hours of snowmageddon was the random acts of kindness that strangers extended to others. It trended on twitter as more and more stories were shared. These ranged from a farmer with a forklift truck taking his wife to work at the Boots where she worked dispensing prescriptions, to then delivering prescriptions (on his forklift) to the needy that could simply not get out of their homes, to surgeons, nurses and doctors walking 5 miles to get to work to help the frail and ill, to random strangers living near emergency services offering spare beds. The funniest act of kindness was most certainly the lorry driver who jack knifed on the A1 north of Berwick Upon Tweed, blocking all traffic. To apologise to the drivers stranded behind him, he offered the contents of his lorry. Lucky for them he was a driver for Greggs the Bakers.

So what, how does this relate to business?

Well what struck me is how much people came together in a crisis and that sense of community and spirit. But why did it take the Beast from the East to make this happen?

One of the things I relish the most in business is helping other people. Of course, you want to make money and be a financial success, but the back bone of any business has to be what it stands for? One of the reasons I established FSA was to help other businesses achieve success, help them understand their accounts, deal with the tax man and make that visit to the accountant less painful. I encourage my team to be the best they possibly can, champion improvement and self development.

In Napoleon Hill’s natural laws of success and traits of wealth in Think and Grow Rich, he listed money as the last trait of true wealth because he felt it was the least important. His Laws of Attraction, Reciprocity, and Cause and Effect can be better understood by looking through the lens of giving. He emphasized that successful leaders always brought value to others in their work. Andrew Carnegie considered himself to be a failure if he died with his wealth, so he gave away money to bring continuing value to humankind.

Giving our wealth back is a potent dynamic that empowers our own success. Hill’s Laws of Attraction and Reciprocity provide a reverse benefit that comes through giving – giving allows us to help others and adds to our own success. That’s an added benefit, not the reason we give.

Build your own success through personal giving.

1. Give what you can: Define a percentage of your wealth to give away without self-promotion. As your financial success increases, your donation amount increases as a percentage of your financial wealth.
2. Don’t toot your own horn: Give as a part of your engagement process.
3. Be a giver and learn to receive: Givers receive value through grateful receiving. Be a giver and a good receiver.
4. Give more than money: Many unsuccessful people focus on money as their answer. Your financial wealth is due to giving value to others which attracts money into your life. Seeking happiness does not bring happiness. Seeking money does not attract money. Give your time, your knowledge, and give of yourself. Model what success means.
5. Always be present: Show up, fully present, when you promise to. Act like you are paid to be there. Avoid being distracted by your money and personal success. Leave your phone, computer, and worries behind while you donate yourself.
6. Be passionate and show it: You are successful because you have a passion driving your success. Give your money, time, talent, and service with passion.

Takers might start out strong, but giving leaders finish in front, leaving value for everyone, especially themselves. Winston Churchill famously said: From what we get we can make a living, but from what we give we can make a life. I certainly know which one I would rather have.

Faith Simpson BA FCCA

Owner & Founder of Faith Simpson Accountants


Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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