I don't know how many of you saw this Town Hall Obama had in Shanghai today, but there was one particular response to a student's question that I really like. One of the students asked President Obama what work or training path is necesarry to be rewarded a Nobel Peace prize. To this question Obama chuckled and said there is no curriculum that will gurantee you a Nobel Peace prize, and then he continued to provide some general advices to the student. The following advice stuck me the most and it is a piece of wisdom that I chose to live by.
This is what the President said:
"The one last piece of advice, though, that I would have that has been useful for me is the people who I admire the most and are most successful, they're not just thinking only about themselves but they're also thinking about something larger than themselves. So they want to make a contribution to society. They want to make a contribution to their country, their nation, their city. They are interested in having an impact beyond their own immediate lives. "
I found this to be very true in life, the more you focus on acquiring the rewards of success for yourself, the harder it is for you to become successful. People who just limit their sight on the enjoyment from the rewards of success, they loose perspective of what true success really should be. However, when people also focus outwardly to help contribute to success in a society, they reap far greater benefits as a whole for themselves and for the world. The ironic thing with success is, it's not an even sum equation. By helping others and contributing to society, you're not taking away from your own personal success. But by doing this, the success you'll be able to achieve will be much greater than when focusing on yourself alone.
This point brings me to the second topic in this entry:
Recently I read about wokai.org from hongkonghustle.com. Wokai is a microfinancing non-profit organization that is helping the poor in rural China to finance small loans. Unlike other charities, you are making loans to the businesses of these hard working men and women looking for a little assistance in improving their quality of life. You can go onto the site and select who your contribution goes to and you can track the business and repayment progress of these lenders. Once the loans are repaid, you get to redistrube your loan to the next lender.
For me, I think this is a great way to make a difference in these people's life. They are not looking for handouts, but loans to help them gain greater success in their business. For many of these people who make around US$1 a day, a loan of a few hundred dollars can be invested to help make their business bring much higher profits. With higher profits, these borrowers will eventually be able to repay these loans.
There will be a fundraiser for this orgainization on Friday evening in Hong Kong. Here's a link to the event details:
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