Alfie needed to offload a last-minute plane ticket from SFO to Copenhagen. He had planned a trip with his brother, but his brother bailed. Being the wonderful and well-connected person that I am, I put him in touch with another friend of mine whom I knew would be interested in such a ticket. And with that, I helped Alfie resell his brother’s plane ticket.
I awaited his expression of gratitude. Nothing.
That was an expensive plane ticket. You’re welcome, asshole. I’m a firm believer in karma, but I also believe that it sometimes requires human intervention. I decided to thank myself for my good deed by throwing a party at Alfie’s house in his absence.
But Warren pointed out that no one would come to my stupid party. I’m kind of a loser.
It bothered me that I was seeking retribution. Two individuals had benefited from my action. Why would I resent that? That’s so silly and stupid.
I don’t help many people. I try to keep to myself. To me, helping someone is like an avocado. I have 10 avocados. If I give one away, then I have one less avocado.
By being stingy with my time, I narrowed my mindset to think of acts of kindness as a limited resource, when really they should be an infinite resource.
That’s why I was unhappy. I thought I had lost an avocado. But the ability to help someone is like an avocado tree. As long as I keep getting sunlight and water (and Ramen), I can help as many people as I want without worry of running out. And if I give avocados to everyone, then it won’t matter if one person forgets to thank me.
Now, it’s still not nice to fail to acknowledge a favor. But it’s far worse to resent someone for that failure.