Are you a giver or a taker?

I have grown in a family of six. I and my siblings had to share a room, had to share clothes and we didn’t have any personal possessions. Ownership was prohibited until 1989, when communism in Romania was brutally eradicated through the execution of the leader Ceausescu on the Christmas Day of the same year.

The mantra in my house was survival of the taker. Being a taker seemed the only way out in my family -this is how wrongly I perceived it at that time-. When me and my siblings had the chance, we would check our parents’ pockets for some change that would magically end up in our pockets. Pocket money is a modern invention and we had no idea what that meant although helping with the housework was an imperative. And housework meant menial ventures such as going to the mill, feed the animals, lit the fire, snow shovelling, etc. I grew up thinking that being a taker was a good thing and something that will rocket my well-being.

However, 9others has taught me the opposite in these last 4 months. At my very first meeting with Matthew, I asked him what was his criteria to select the 9others attendees. His answer was as straightforward as this: we want givers, not takers. This automatically translated into my ears as a rhetoric question tainted with blame:

Are you a giver or a taker?

As you may imagine, the answer to the question was YES at least from my self-critical point of view and this acknowledgement helped me to work towards a better version of me. Months later, I can say I have gone through a rehab process that helped me to get rid of that old song called “Me, myself and I”. Learning that social impact is a drive for innovation, fosters personal growth and channels visionary thinking, I can say I am on my way to redemption. Currently, I am in my natal village in Romania volunteering to teach English to children as a way to run away from the thirst of money-making and the ambition to reach higher. What I didn’t know that by being a giver you are someone. You are someone to the person you help. You are someone special to the world just because you are able to pull away from the strings of selfishness and partially (unfortunately I am not Mother Theresa, yet;) attain selflessness .

It would take pages to describe the evolutionary process and the learning curve that helped me to become a better human and be on the path to selflessness. Survival of the fittest may seem an invitation to leave other behind others in the competitive race to reach our objectives. Let me tell you that life has shown me that I WAS WRONG. A Sálvase quien pueda attitude which literally means, every man for himself is the epitome of self-destruction and a dead-end for our projects. With this lesson learnt, I want to share you a nice African proverb that has become my personal motto in the last months and I really hope, it will call to your solidarity and the importance of being part of a team and building a sense of belonging:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Leave your footprint. There are people craving for it.