As a kid, I had a piggy bank. I don’t remember where it came from, but I do remember the thrill I would get each time I dropped a coin into it. I couldn’t see inside, and it didn’t have a plug in the bottom; so I had no way of knowing how much money I had collected. Occasionally, I would shake it, but the only way to know how much was in there would have been to break it open. And I didn’t want to do that until I knew I had filled it up. I knew that once I had put everything I could into the bank, I would have something extremely valuable. So every chance I had, I dropped another coin in.
In a sense, each of us has an internal piggy bank. Each encounter with another human being has the potential to impact who we are and how we see those around us. Positive encounters result in deposits being made. The more positive the experience, the more is deposited and the more our internal balance of positive experiences grows.
Negative interactions on the other hand, are like shaking the piggy bank upside down until change falls out. They are jarring and disorienting. They result not just in a diminished balance, but in an unsettling of what remains. And in the end, there’s a void; a space that has to be filled back in before the balance can start growing again.
But there’s a significant difference between our internal piggy bank and the one I had as a child. You see, each time you make a deposit into someone else’s bank; your balance grows by the same amount. Sometimes it grows by more. Each time you do something for someone else, each time you serve them, you benefit. The more you give, the more you get.
And of course, the opposite is true as well. Each time you shake someone else’s piggy bank – each time you withhold service or leave them with a negative perception of an interaction with you – your balance diminishes at least as much as theirs does. Sometimes you lose more.
When you think about it, the best way to grow your own balance is focus on growing someone else’s. If you sit around waiting for someone to put coins in your bank, you could be waiting a long time. But making an investment in someone else always pays off. The more you invest, the more you stand to gain.
Take a look at your customer. Take a look at your coworker. Is your relationship with them not as rich as it could be? Maybe it’s time to make a deposit.
The best thing about filling a piggy bank is that it doesn’t require large deposits. Just a few coins here and there will fill that thing up in no time. I bet if you checked you’d find you have a little to give right now. Why not invest it today?