Pay It Forward

July 3, 2012 § 19 Comments

Just this afternoon, I was watching a movie “Pay It Forward” over at HBO and was truly impressed about the concept it was trying to project. I found out it was released in 2000 (shows how outdated I am about movies) starring Haley Joel Osment as a boy who launches a good-will movement, Helen Hunt as his single mother, and Kevin Spacey as his social-studies teacher.

When someone does you a favor, don’t pay it back… PAY IT FORWARD

The 7th grader (Osment) while attending a class decided to do a project where he would do a favor to 3 people, his mum included. And the recipient of the favors were supposed to forward it to 3 other people, hence pay it forward. The move catches on and became a widespread phenomenon. The movie itself was weak despite strong performances from the leading actors and with a bad ending. How could a hero (the boy) died? Heroes shouldn’t die at end of movies. They should live!.

Back to the concept of “pay it forward”, it is used to describe the concept of asking that a good deed be repaid by having it done for others instead. It was first mooted out in a prizewinning play in ancient Athens dating back to 317BC, by Dyskolos. The concept was rediscovered and described by Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Benjamin Webb dated April 25, 1784:

I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you. When you […] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with another opportunity. I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress. This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.

In 1916, Lily Hardy Hammond wrote, “You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.

An anonymous spokesman for Alcoholics Anonymous said in the Christian Science Monitor in 1944, “You can’t pay anyone back for what has happened to you, so you try to find someone you can pay forward.

The term “pay it forward” was popularized by Robert A. Heinlein in his book Between Planets, published in 1951:

The banker reached into the folds of his gown, pulled out a single credit note. “But eat first — a full belly steadies the judgment. Do me the honor of accepting this as our welcome to the newcomer.” His pride said no; his stomach said YES! Don took it and said, “Uh, thanks! That’s awfully kind of you. I’ll pay it back, first chance.” “Instead, pay it forward to some other brother who needs it.”

Heinlein both preached and practiced this philosophy; now the Heinlein Society, a humanitarian organization founded in his name, does so. Author Spider Robinson made repeated reference to the doctrine, attributing it to his spiritual mentor Heinlein.

The mathematician Paul Erdos heard about a promising math student unable to enroll in Harvard University for financial reasons. Erdos contributed enough to allow the young man to register. Years later, the man offered to return the entire amount to Erdos, but Erdos insisted that the man rather find another student in his situation, and give the money to him.

I was astonished to find out that it started so long ago and I had failed to come across it or even heard of it until this afternoon (I should thank HBO, no?). I must truly read more, I supposed. Such a grand scheme and we could all play a part in it and in return, help people who can then help other people. The thing is this concept must be done deliberately so that the recipients know what they need to do in returning the favors. Fabulous, indeed!

And off I go now, to add an entry to my Life List, namely Pay It Forward.


My Life List

June 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

Continuing from Doing My Life List, here it is then…the actual My Life List! This list will be updated from time to time, adding more things is a definite, while crossing off things that I have accomplished. And they are definitely not in the order of sequence. So here it goes:


  1. Write 1,000 posts
  2. Have 1,000 LIKES for my blog


  1. Do a “Pay It Forward”


  1. Visit Old Trafford (I’m a huge Manchester United fan, by the way)
  2. Visit Italy
  3. Visit USA, again (I went to school there in the 80’s and have never been back since then)
  4. Visit any South American country


  1. Drive a Ferrari
  2. Own A Harley Davidson


  1. Own the Nikon D300 or D7000
  2. Learn Archery
  3. Learn Horse Riding


  1. Read a book in Arabic i.e. Be that good in Arabic


  1. Memorize the Qur’an
  2. Perform The Umrah
  3. Perform The Hajj
  4. Pray at 52 mosques in 52 weeks (in 2012)
  5. Complete recitation of Sahih Bukhari on my own

Doing My Life List

June 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 20...

Film poster for The Bucket List – Copyright 2007, Warner Bros. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I was browsing for some inspiration to write an article, I came across this very interesting topic called “Life List” or also known as “Bucket List” or “Things To Do Before I Die“. There is this inspiring and infamous story of a then 15-year old boy, John Goddard, who came up with things that he wanted to do before he died, and he came up with 127 of them!

One rainy afternoon an inspired 15-year old boy named John Goddard sat down at his kitchen table in Los Angeles and wrote three words at the top of a yellow pad, “My Life List.” Under that heading he wrote down 127 goals. Since then he has completed 109 of those goals. These were not simple or easy goals. They included climbing the world’s major mountains, exploring from source to mouth the longest rivers of the world, piloting the world’s fastest aircraft, running a mile in five minutes and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

And after looking at several more smashing articles on the topic, I’ve decided to come up with my own. It’s the same thing with all of us, there are things that we all have been dreaming or trying to at least have a go at it once. Be it running the New York Marathon, or go Bungee Jumping, or visit the Pyramids. We all have those things that we hope to accomplish. And so do I!

What’s the name of my life list then? Do I come up with some super-name (like what?) or simply just use the generic ones that a lot of folks have been using (Life List, Things To Do, etc)? I’m not creative so might as well use the name my Life List.

Go to my Life List where I hope to update it often enough. Do you have one? Why not start now? Here are some of the links that might help you out:

The Life List: Why to Have One, How to Create One

John Goddard’s “Life List”

Mighty Life List

How to Make a Life List You’ll Actually Do: A Comprehensive Guide

Bucket List Ideas – 1000 Things to do Before You Die

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