I’ve always disliked being told advice without any reasons of why. “Be good to people.” Why? “Go out and socialize with people.” Why? Most of my alone time is pondering the why of things. Why should I be nice to others? At times of my introverted, I think about why people love socializing with each other. It seems people don’t have to reason with themselves as to why going to a bar and talking to each other is exactly what they want to do in their free time. People just go out and talk to each other. Friends or strangers. When I’m feeling extroverted, I’m right along there with them. Strike that, I’m more outgoing than anyone else in the place. I love interacting with people. Making connections, learning about them, enjoying their personalities. But my question during times of introversion is: Why? What is the evolutionary reason to go out for the purpose of talking to each other? What benefit do we gain? How is this going to help us in our lives? The short answer I’ve come to find, after soul searching, is we socialize because relationships with others benefit our lives. What does this mean? Karma is what hippies would call it.
Community is important. The more we interact positively with the world, the more the the world will give back to us. It’s like the butterfly effect on steroids. And I believe this 100%. But not in the spiritual energy way. I don’t think that helping an old lady cross the street will magically, and for no connected reason bring me success in my future. Like I said, The Butterfly Effect on steroids. Basically, if I positively interact with a person, the ideal example for you is that person would want to do something positive back for me. Let’s take that to a more complex level. What if I tip my barista extra while he’s not looking? How would that benefit me? It probably wouldn’t affect me directly. What’s the difference between him knowing that I’ve tipped him, and him not knowing that I’ve tipped him?
I’ll think bigger picture. If I give him an extra tip, at the end of the day, he might be in a better mood by seeing an extra sum when he leaves work, putting him in a better mood, causing him to enjoy his work more. What if I added a consistent smile to my transaction each morning with him? That barista would see me as a positive force in his life, and probably be compelled to reciprocate that positivity back to me.
The guy that was cool to Scarface was the weird, peppy old guy. Why? That old dude was probably genuine and happy about life whenever he came in to interact with Scarface. It made Scarface like him. Just that positive, sincere vibe he put out to the world. Let’s break the dude down.
Obviously this guy doesn’t care about impressing people. But at the same time, he looks happy about life. He probably enjoys people. He’s probably a Science teacher at a high school, and smokes weed each night, and Scarface notices all these things. The old guy is giving out good vibes to the world, and because of that, he’s probably getting good vibes back. I don’t believe in the spiritual energy karma, because I believe there is always a real reason for everything. Basically, the more positivity and sincerity I put out to the world, the more positively I will affect others, and somehow, that stuff will come back to me. Why does my client base keep growing despite my lack of advertising? This is why.
I give so much to my students, that they are so happy with it, that they tell everyone about the program. A student finds so much value in my commitment towards him, that he wants to tell others about it. He tells enough of his friends with enough gusto about the service, that those friends will call me up and want to sign up. What if I only gave my clients 75%? They would be happy, but would they be happy enough to yell about it on top of a mountain? Not likely.
What about total indirect means of karma? In a way where the positivity you give out to the world, the engagement you have with your environment, has nothing to do with the good that you are getting back? What about that type of stuff? How is that affecting you? What’s the math in that? You have to realize that any type of positivity will do something for the world, and in turn, for you. If you go and talk to a dude at a bar, and make him laugh, that might make his night better. That next morning, he takes a flight to London. He brings that positive vibe with him on the plane, cheers up the flight attendants, they change that fake smile to a real one when they have to deal with upset passengers. Those passengers feel good from the subtle, genuinely positive reaction to their crappy moods. Those people feel good from that positivity, and spread it to their friends in London. That does something to a sad little college kid in a nearby town. It gives that kid hope to pursue his dream as an actor in TV comedy. A few years later, he stars in a hilarious new UK show, called The Warden. That UK show gets so popular because of his presence on camera, that they remake the show in the US. The Warden becomes your favorite show ever. The lead in that show inspires you to be a stand-up comedian. You approach this dream with a passion. You are more happy in your life because of it. Boom. Why would something like this not happen? Humans affect each other with emotion like a virus. Emotions between humans are more contagious than you’d think. Just think that you spreading positive, fun, unabashed vibes to your environment will change the way people live in a little town in India.
It’s the collective mood and actions of the world that affect the collective mood and actions of the world.
The point of all of this is, are you going to join us in the progress of making the world better, in effect making your life better? Some of your actions will be immediate, like giving a big tip to the bartender and him buying you a drink because of it. Many of your positive actions and engagement will be long-term. It will be like dropping coins into your piggy bank. Over time, they will add up to something great. After a few years, the piggy bank turns into a couple hundred dollars, and you won’t remember any one isolated time when you’ve dropped a penny or two into the bank. But you will be happy when you look at your piggy one day and seeing how much money is there. Never think to yourself, have I done enough good stuff today? There is never enough. Basically, the more fun, enjoyment, realness, engagement, and positivity you put in the pot, the more tasty the stew of life will be.
As a rule of thumb, if you have to try deciding whether you’ve done enough today, you haven’t done enough today. Let’s not forget the residual effect that engaging with your environment does for you directly. Just appreciating your surroundings at all times puts you in a good mood naturally. You don’t even have to be directly doing anything. Wake up with a smile on your face, meditate in your room by yourself for five minutes. That goodness puts a positive vibe out to the world and you won’t even recognize it. Humans are amazing at sensing negativity. The way I walk around my apartment can affect the people living below me. What if they hear a rushed, tense pacing on their ceiling? That might tense them up for the day, making them stressed when they come home. That can end up affecting the entire building over the course of a day, and in return affect your own environment while at home. It’s easy to use negativity and anger to get what I want in my environment. If I’m dissatisfied with a service, I can complain and get angry. That can affect them and get me what I want. But it’s also spreading negativity around me and definitely back to me. It’s a better challenge to be purposeful about what I want in life by means of positivity and a stronger engagement with my environment and who is in front of me. Plus, the return on that investment is more beneficial. If the service is bad at a restaurant, it’s easy for me to put on my angry face and complain to get what I want. Maybe I can score a free meal out of it. But that’s too easy. Bad form, Jack.
[Anyone can complain to make someone look bad. Anyone can take the negative route to fix your solution. (Don’t like someone? Punch his face.) It’s more of a challenge to express positivity towards an issue for getting what you want.]
So when those hippie spiritual teachers talk about karma, and whatever you spread out to your world will affect you in the long-run, they are right. But not because of magical “energy”, but because of real, concrete communication from one human to another. It’s communicated in the subtlety in your body language, facial emotions, tonality, your wording, everything. People notice if you are feigning positivity and ingenuity or if it is real. They may not be able to point it out directly, but they definitely sense it. They feel the good or bad “vibe” from you. So being social isn’t only something that is naturally enjoyable, but it has evolutionary benefits that are necessary in giving you a happy and valuable life.
The next time you think, “What’s the use of me interacting with the people in this room? Will it really affect my life in any way?” The answer is holy crap yes. In fact, the fact that you are even thinking about that and trying to discern whether you should or not means that you are putting out way less good vibes than you should. It means that you are getting an F in life. In order for you to have a good life, you need to be putting out a surplus of good vibes, love, and positive engagement. Keep this in mind: The amount you think it will take for you to get a return on your good vibes is ten times less than necessary. Keep putting out good vibes even when you think you’ve done enough. It benefits your life for right now, and for later.