What contributions are you making?

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What is a contribution? What contributions am I making? These are questions that I’ve reflected over the past week.

Contribution can be defined in different ways depending on the context. According to the Free Dictionary it can be defined as a ‘voluntary gift made to some worthwhile cause’. I don’t know about you but I feel that the best gifts to give others are usually the ones we won’t mind receiving ourselves. I think it is the same with contributions. It is the act of giving something you value to someone else without expecting anything in return. This something can include; giving money, sharing ideas, or providing a service to someone for free. The funny thing is that when we make contributions we usually do get something unexpected in return. For example, I tend to get so excited about the gift I’m giving that just the act of giving brings me joy. In giving something I’m receiving joy.

The dictionary also defines contribution as ‘the part played by a person in bringing about a result’. The result can be to help others to enhance or reach their goals. To inspire them to believe in their unique abilities. To support others in times of difficulty. To assist in a community project or to improve the living conditions of others, etc.

When I think about the contributions that others had made to me (knowingly or unknowingly), I recall times when; someone supported me financially, told me they believed in me, held me when I was sad, and gave me advice when I needed it. Other contributions I also recall include observing a great leader, listening to beautiful music or appreciating a piece of art.

The word contribution originates from the Latin word contribuere that means to bring together, to add. In contributing we are bringing people together. We are connecting on a shared purpose level. When we contribute our unique qualities and expertise we are adding value to others. We are voluntary sharing the gifts that had been given to us.

What people made the biggest contrition in your life? In what way have you contributed to others? In the following week think about the contributions that you want to make?

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2 thoughts on “What contributions are you making?

  1. Beautiful and true, Gretha. I think one of the most important contributions one can make is one’s TIME. To me the things you mentioned also relates closely to “the Five Love Languages” Gary D. Chapman wrote about: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch (intimacy). But I still think time is the biggest “contributing” factor to all of them.

    Gifts – you need to take the time to get to know what a person is like and what they would like and then take the time to make, buy or order the gift.
    Words of affirmation – you need to spend one-on-one time with someone to create that space wherein you can say comforting/affirmative words.
    Acts of service – you need to sacrifice your own time to do something selfless for someone else. Physical touch – you need to take the time to put your cellphone down, pay full attention and hug, hold or touch someone.

    I think most people actually wants to make more contributions to others’ lives, but the thing we all struggle with is to make the time to contribute. Maybe the answer is to live a little less for ourselves and more for others? We will then all end up giving and receiving (in return) so much more!

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  2. Wise words, Alweri. Thank you for sharing!
    I do agree that we struggle to take the TIME to contribute. The question remains how can we live (as you said) ‘a little less for ourselves and more for others’ ? I want to add to that question ‘without loosing touch of who we are’?

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