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Net Contributor

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

For most of my life I have been a net consumer. Be it information or goods I have consumed them and enjoyed it. From a good chunk of dark chocolate to insights from a prolific author and thought leader, I have consumed without prejudice. My consumption of material and intellectual goods and services have far outweighed contributions. The consumption of entertainment, bingeing for hours on seasons of shows, has far outweighed any similar contribution I may have made over the years.

One day while consuming a wonderful family meal, one of my children announced that “in class to day our teacher challenged us to be a net contributor.” This piqued my interest and I asked what that meant. My daughter went on to say that being a net contributor is to give more to life than to take from it. To share insights and understanding through active writing and speaking more than passive listening and reading. To volunteer time to causes you find valuable more than spending time consuming entertainment. To teach and mentor more than lounging and relaxing. Notice that the idea was not to give up consumption but to weight the scale on the contribution side.

Through the years I have thought much about how to be a net contributor. How can I give more than receive? To this end I have found Streaking an excellent tool to tip the scales toward contribution. Setting a laughably small streak to do an act of service daily such as smile at a stranger, or give gratitude freely has helped change my mindset from what I am receiving to what I can give. Another laughably simple streak of writing a letter weekly sharing a thought or two of how that person impacted my life has also helped tipped the scales toward contribution. Writing at least one sentence daily on an insight or event has also helped me incrementally increase contributions. The small simple consecutive activity through time tips the scales toward contribution.

In the Streaking book we highlight Georges Seurat’s painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” For years he spent countless hours perfecting this master piece of pointillism. His contribution introduced an entire new way of painting to the world. Recently I read about the Wright brothers innumerable hours tinkering and trying different configurations until they contributed flight and totally changed transportation. Currently I am learning how Coach Geno Auriemma contributes every day to building and lifting future leaders. What each one of these stories have in common is that each person consciously consistently contributed every day through small simple actions and through time have become net contributors rather than net consumers.

Being a net contributor is not easy. Our natural tendency is to consume goods, services and entertainment. To quell our nature and contribute is not done through a big bold beautiful one time event, it is done through laughably small actions consecutively, completed daily, weekly, or monthly. I invite you to be a net contributor. You have much to offer that will add value to the world. Your daily small simple contribution through time can change the course of an industry or the shape of the world. After all, the Grand Canyon, one of the wonders of the world, was formed by a million tiny drops of water that consistently kept moving.


Keep Streakin’,

Jeff

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