Mar 11

Philanthropy of Experience

Everyone has some unique experience to share with the world. This is not because of their individual worth because even those living under a rock can sometimes show us the pathway to bettering ourselves. We hear the term “pay it forward” and live in a world that has given us the ability to do exactly that… to repay the debt we owe to learned mentors, teachers and parents by bringing it alive to a new audience through the collaborative intelligence of social media. It is a simple equation: Learned Experience + Personal Experience = Greater Lessons. At some point each of us will recognize not only the personal rewards of giving, but the fact that there is actually an obligation to do so.

Receiving these gifts from others brings a note of warning as well. Unfortunately, all of the self-proclaimed prophets are not acting out of philanthropy. Instead they are exercising a self aggrandizing display of self importance that contaminates the very channels we depend upon for our needs. Many freestyle Twitter chats* offer important advice to interns, job seekers and those looking for career advice. Occasionally, and thankfully infrequently, we also hear from those who are missing the “Personal Experience” part of the equation. Ultimately they will be seen for what they are and go away… or be ridiculed away.

The Crow and the Raven – Aesop’s Fables

A Crow became very jealous of a Raven, because the latter was regarded by men as a bird of omen which foretold the future, and was accordingly held in great respect by them. She was very anxious to get the same sort of reputation herself. One day, seeing some travelers approaching, she flew on to a branch of a tree at the roadside and cawed as loud as she could. The travelers were in some dismay at the sound for they feared it might be a bad omen until one of them, spying the Crow, said to his companions, “It’s all right my friends, we can go on without fear, for it’s only a crow and that means nothing.”

Moral: Those who pretend to be something they are not only make themselves ridiculous.

Like most stories that conclude with a moral lesson there are different perspectives to consider. In this case there is the obvious caution not to become like the crow. Jealousy is a very shallow motivational emotion and the resulting messages cawed out to the world will be just as shallow. If you are already a crow, the recognition should be that you are not really fooling anybody and the ego trip is self defeating. Find the experience you can really bring to the table and add to the common knowledge or just quietly fly away. For all of us, the message is that those who have fought in the trenches will bring more value than those who are mimicking others.

There may be a certain amount of crow in all of us. There is a spectrum of crow-ness that goes from the noisy crow at one end of the chart to prophetic raven at the other. Knowing when to teach and when to learn is the key to moderating our thoughts and words in order to keep away from being crow-like.

*Some excellent Twitter chats for sharing/learning and their target audiences:

  • #InternPro – College students, interns, entry level job seekers: Monday, 9pm ET
  • #JobHuntChat – Job seekers at all stages of career seeking work: Monday 10pm ET
  • #OMCchat – Open mic career chat for all job seekers: Thursday 7pm ET
  • Please recommend others in comments…

Image credit: sipaphoto / 123RF Stock Photo


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