Don’t let your ego blind you from seeing the truth
“No good deed goes unpunished.” Oscar Wilde
I have to admit I have often wondered what inspired someone to come up with today’s quote, but I actually had no idea who said it.
I then discovered, to my surprise, that it is frequently attributed to Oscar Wilde who lived more than 100 years ago.
On the surface it seems a negative, sarcastic, almost absurd statement; it’s hard to believe that it is still as true today as the day it was penned.
After all, we are living in the most technologically advanced society ever to walk the earth – hasn’t humanity advanced as well?
Normally I would say that it has.
And then this happened.
I was driving down a quiet lane in St George’s on a sunny afternoon when I came across an older gentleman making his way on foot with what appeared to be a very heavy grocery bag.
As is my habit in my neighbourhood when I see someone like this, I pulled over to offer him a lift.
However, as I directed my attention to the passenger-side window to greet him, I was suddenly aware that there was somebody yelling at me from the driver-side window.
When I turned to look, I discovered that the car that had been following me too closely was now pulled alongside me (blocking oncoming traffic) and the driver was in the process of telling me in an elevated tone that, in her opinion, I was a very poor driver and that I shouldn’t have stopped so suddenly without signalling.
An interesting accusation in the least as I had not been travelling at more than 25 miles per hour in the first place and my indicator was still flashing as she proceeded to “tell me about myself”.
Needless to say, the irony of her self-righteous outburst was completely lost on her and I had little choice but to apologise and encourage her to get on her way.
To be honest, I’m not sure who was more shocked by this unexpected turn of events – me, or the elderly gentleman who was surprised both by the offer of a ride and by the subsequent tongue-lashing that I received from the other driver as a consequence of attempting to assist him.
Ok rant over, now what’s my point?
Simply this: at every moment of every day we have a choice regarding how to conduct ourselves and how to react to the actions of others.
When we choose to act without care we are simply allowing our ego to blind us from seeing the truth about a situation.
But, when we choose to keep our ego in check, we have the opportunity to assist others in completing missions beyond our comprehension. In this case the gentleman I assisted was in the process of delivering food to an elderly friend in need.
Though I only transported him the last few yards of his journey, we shared a moment of synchronicity that I will remember for a long time – a spontaneous and selfless coming together to act solely for the benefit of another.
An act of kindness that was indeed worth the price.
Robin Trimingham is the managing director of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a business consultant, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://bit.ly/3nSMlvc or email@example.com