Doing extraordinary things without attention can be more rewarding than you think.

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

— John Holmes

In a world where promoting yourself is popular, it’s not hard to figure out why most people want to do things for the sake of being seen. The compliments, the attention, all those things come with being generous in the public eye. 

There are those who record themselves as they give a poor person a meal. They plaster their faces on everything so everyone knows who did it.

This has become a normality in many circles. But it’s not the only way to go about being charitable in our society today and filling the void wherever possible.

We’ve lost the art of doing things while remaining anonymous to the world, and it’s damaged our perception of what it means to be extraordinary.

No Lights, No Camera, Just Action

When we hear about someone doing something nice for someone else, it often comes with cameras and newspaper articles attached. That’s not to say that everyone doing nice things are doing so for attention, but it does make you think.

To be fair, people want to capture moments that reveal a glimpse of positivity in the foggy world we live in. They want to spread that hope with as many people as possible. And what better way than to share it on social media.

There’s nothing wrong with that approach. But for the ones doing the good, sometimes the intention is not to help the less fortunate as much as it is to get the attention. 

What if we did things without seeking a load of likes or claps for it? 

There are plenty of people who do this regularly. But it’s also necessary to address those who don’t. It’s a good way of clarifying motives. 

More often than I’m probably aware of, I’d much rather do something like feed a homeless person and get the recognition for doing so. That’s how I’m conditioned to think. But it still doesn’t feel right.

Why is that?

Deep down, we all want to be seen for the things we do. We want people to know that we’re more than just vessels with empty hears, floating around without a care for anyone in the world. It’s an innocent hope at its core.

Yet, it’s the “me first” culture we observe on a regular basis that has subtly rubbed off on us. Placing ourselves in the limelight first, the others are forgotten or viewed as tools to get what we want.

The Willingness to Be Invisible

Extraordinary people don’t think this way. They insist on giving without letting anyone know about it. They want to help without the paparazzi looming in from every corner.

It’s common for a person to be generous and then show it off to the world, expecting something in return. But that’s not what makes the exceptional list. At least, not from what I’ve recognized lately.

Instead, it’s the people who find it possible to do good when no one is looking that stand out to me. They have within themselves the desire to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way: anonymously.

Their names are unknown. Their faces are unseen. “What could they have looked like?” some of us wonder.

None of that matters to them.

I’m amazed at that level of humility. And since I’m being honest, it makes me quite jealous too. It just makes me want to do something for someone else without requesting attention or fame in return.

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Pride: The Ever-Present Obstacle

Another reason we don’t act anonymously is that it undermines our pride. What’s the point in doing something if you’re not going to be acknowledged for it?

But the problem is when we think that way, we’re making it all about us and what we can get out of it. This frame of mind ruins the point, which is focused on helping someone else. It also has negative repercussions in other areas of our lives.

Our consumption exists the way it does mostly because of our pride. We’re always on the hunt for something new.

So-and-so has those shoes, now you want them too. We want to have it all, and then some. If not, we feel inadequate. Then when it comes to acting generously, we trip over our own ego every time.

You’ve been there. I’ve been there. And we all know what happens next?

The cycle never ends.

We begin to crave more and more for ourselves out of pure selfishness. Not realizing that this won’t make us happy. It won’t satisfy the intrinsic happiness our souls seek.

Giving does this. Serving does this. And, if you’re willing to accept it, doing it anonymously puts the icing on the cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to stop you from buying what you like. There’s nothing wrong with shopping. And the attainment of new things is not always a bad thing.

But what I want to convey to you is that if we continue to neglect the generosity that feeds us what consumerism cannot offer, we will remain an ungratefully selfish society.

You can change that, simply and beautifully, by one act of kindness at a time. And no one has to know about it.

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