The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead. The concept is NOT new; but it became hugely popular after the release of the movie by the same name.

A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.

Young Trevor McKinney (played by Haley Joel Osment), troubled by his mother's (played by Helen Hunt) alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet (played by Kevin Spacey). The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him

In 2000, Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel Pay It Forward was published and adapted into a Warner Brothers film, Pay It Forward. In Ryan Hyde's book and movie it is described as an obligation to do three good deeds for others in repayment of a good deed that one receives. Such good deeds should be things that the other person cannot accomplish on their own. In this way, the need to help one another can spread exponentially through society, creating a social movement with the goal of making the world a better place.

There is even a Pay it Forward Movement and Foundation

As well as a Pay it Forward Day. This year it is April 26th. It surprises me, this has not been discussed on IQ before this. Why is that?

What do you think? Could this concept of PIF, change the world? Do you practice this or other random acts of kindness? Do you try to live your life this way? Is this a way to create good Karma? Would anyone like to share their thoughts and or experiences? Did anyone participate last April on PIFD?

asked 14 Jan '12, 22:45

ele's gravatar image


edited 15 Jan '12, 06:24

Barry%20Allen's gravatar image

Barry Allen ♦♦


ele, sounds not much different than the 'golden rule'. yes, our world would be different if observed

(16 Jan '12, 08:25) fred

@ele Ele, HI! I'm sorry, facebook has blocked my outgoing messages for 7 days. When I type and send you a message, facebook blocks it from sending. I'm sorry if I worried you. Hope to write to you soon, when the block is removed by fb. Because you are not in my friends list, facebook is considering me, messaging to non-friends as violation of fb policy.

(12 Mar '13, 05:46) Kevin Flycatcher

@Kevin Flycatcher thanks for the info :)

(12 Mar '13, 06:22) ru bis

@Kevin Flycatcher, despite previous warnings, you continued to use IQ as a personal messaging system by posting and quickly deleting comments. Your account is now suspended and the comment you deleted has been restored

(12 Mar '13, 06:24) Barry Allen ♦♦

@ru bis You may stop smiling now. Did you really expect me to choose any differently? He was someone who wished to speak to me & for whatever reason, wanted it very badly. He's extremely attached to me. In RL, I always stop & talk to almost anyone who wants to talk to me. It's been my experience people just want to be 'listened' to & I do just that in RL. Funny, I was thinking about adding a comment to an answer here the other day & THEN I opened my email & was happy & surprised to see ..

(16 Mar '13, 04:45) ele

... a couple emails. I was even more surprised to see the content. You're right; it's good info & if I have anything else to say on this subject; well, I won't muck up this perfectly nice thread by doing so.

"What most people really need is a good listening to ~ Mary Lou Casey. (very wise woman & well said)

(16 Mar '13, 04:46) ele

thanks @ele for the explanation, however i think our lines are crossed :)

(16 Mar '13, 04:49) ru bis

No, not crossed. I was using you, sorry. I just thought I needed to explain why I was talking to mm2. He wasn't very honest; showed no respect for IQ, went ballistic & "creeped" me out at the end. I can't know someone else's intention or what he meant. He never told me why he was on IQ or have we discussed anything that happened here. I knew he wouldn't stop till he talked to me. I haven't heard from him for a couple weeks & since he messages me several times a day; I was bit concerned. He ..

(16 Mar '13, 06:04) ele

... He doesn't want to lose me. But; you're right, it's good info. Odd, my messaging privileges' have never been at risk on my blatantly obvious fake FB acct w/ NO friends or profile. The only service of FB I use is messenger & I'm certainly no FB expert. Common sense tells me I'm not in jeopardy because I don't continue to send friend requests to people who say NO. I assume FB thinks he is harassing me. He obviously has NO respect for IQ & if he opens another IQ acct for the sole ...

(16 Mar '13, 06:07) ele

. sole intention of contacting me; I will be forced to conclude the same & add stalking to the list. There are trust issues & privacy issues; they are not the same. After his actions here; I can't really trust him with my identity. Besides, he claimed he used to be a hacker. Of course he lives in the "pearl" of the pacific; a tropical vacation sounds good to me. (channeling my inner sycophant) Now I mucked up my thread. @Barry Allen may I delete these comments? I also enjoyed talking to him.

(16 Mar '13, 06:14) ele
showing 2 of 10 show 8 more comments

Here is the perfect answer.Take it in your own way... Swami Vivekananda quote unquote ,

Our duty to others means helping others; doing good to the world. Why should we do good to the world? Apparently to help the world, but really to help ourselves. We should always try to help the world, that should be the highest motive in us; but if we consider well, we find that the world does not require our help at all. This world was not made that you or I should come and help it. I once read a sermon in which it was said, "All this beautiful world is very good, because it gives us time and opportunity to help others." Apparently, this is a very beautiful sentiment, but is it not a blasphemy to say that the world needs our help? We cannot deny that there is much misery in it; to go out and help others is, therefore, the best thing we can do, although in the long run, we shall find that helping others is only helping ourselves. As a boy I had some white mice. They were kept in a little box in which there were little wheels, and when the mice tried to cross the wheels, the wheels turned and turned, and the mice never got anywhere. So it is with the world and our helping it. The only help is that we get moral exercise. This world is neither good nor evil; each man manufactures a world for himself. If a blind man begins to think of the world, it is either as soft or hard, or as cold or hot. We are a mass of happiness or misery; we have seen that hundreds of times in our lives. As a rule, the young are optimistic and the old pessimistic. The young have life before them; the old complain their day is gone; hundreds of desires, which they cannot fulfil struggle in their hearts. Both are foolish nevertheless. Life is good or evil according to the state of mind in which we look at it, it is neither by itself. Fire, by itself, is neither good nor evil. When it keeps us warm we say, "How beautiful is fire!" When it burns our fingers, we blame it. Still, in itself it is neither good nor bad. According as we use it, it produces in us the feeling of good or bad; so also is this world. It is perfect. By perfection is meant that it is perfectly fitted to meet its ends. We may all be perfectly sure that it will go on beautifully well without us, and we need not bother our heads wishing to help it.

Yet we must do good; the desire to do good is the highest motive power we have, if we know all the time that it is a privilege to help others. Do not stand on a high pedestal and take five cents in your hand and say, "Here, my poor man," but be grateful that the poor man is there, so that by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world, and thus become pure and perfect. All good acts tend to make us pure and perfect. What can we do at best? Build a hospital, make roads, or erect charity asylums. We may organise a charity and collect two or three millions of dollars, build a hospital with one million, with the second give balls and drink champagne, and of the third let the officers steal half, and leave the rest finally to reach the poor; but what are all these? One mighty wind in five minutes can break all your buildings up. What shall we do then? One volcanic eruption may sweep away all our roads and hospitals and cities and buildings. Let us give up all this foolish talk of doing good to the world. It is not waiting for your or my help; yet we must work and constantly do good, because it is a blessing to ourselves. That is the only way we can become perfect. No beggar whom we have helped has ever owed a single cent to us; we owe everything to him, because he has allowed us to exercise our charity on him. It is entirely wrong to think that we have done, or can do, good to the world, or to think that we have helped such and such people. It is a foolish thought, and all foolish thoughts bring misery. We think that we have helped some man and expect him to thank us, and because he does not, unhappiness comes to us. Why should we expect anything in return for what we do? Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God. Is it not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellow men? If we were really unattached, we should escape all this pain of vain expectation, and could cheerfully do good work in the world. Never will unhappiness or misery come through work done without attachment. The world will go on with its happiness and misery through eternity.


answered 22 Jan '12, 14:55

Sandeep%20Kodam's gravatar image

Sandeep Kodam


All you who dwell in this way on the wheel of samsara, Fully analyze with your minds what has originated from the non-originated and what is not originated, As well as all that is not correct, Cut through the view of self, Tear down the net of mental afflictions with the sword of genuine wisdom, And see the abode of the aggregates as empty: Realize the great ocean of enlightenment’s qualities.

(22 Jan '12, 16:38) white tiger

@Sandeep Kodam "It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver"

OR A gift is NOT a gift if we expect a thank-you - the gift is in the giving.

"We think that we have helped some man and expect him to thank us, and because he does not, unhappiness comes to us" - true...

You said it well - beautifully written Sandeep. Welcome to IQ & I hope to read more from you.

(22 Jan '12, 23:38) ele

[Quick aside, I find it interesting Joel Osteen was mentioned here. Has anyone else felt he's just teaching the LoA but substituting the names and terminology so his target demographic will be more receptive? Though I feel most if not all spirituality seems to have the same roots teaching these lessons, some of them require more 'liberal interpretations' to fit my conclusion than others. Whereas Joel's seems so similar almost to being intentional.]

@ The question: Could this concept change the world? Yes, of course it absolutely could.

However it's only one example of many different philosophies & concepts capable of changing the world, all sharing the same caveat: You'd need to get everyone to participate. This caveat is why anyone can admit there's many Utopian ideas they appreciate and would like to see in practice, but most people follow this admission with the statement "But that'll never happen", "You can't get everyone to change", "You can't get everyone to follow the golden rule", "You can't get everyone to do unto others otherwise they already would and the world would already be a better place."

It doesn't matter which philosophy, spirituality, or honor code you unify people under, it's the unity which would cause great change and it's the same unity we have trouble implementing.

I do believe it would be possible to create a series of truths and philosophies which we all agreed would be the foundation we considered before any other religious or political beliefs, and I even think humanity is presently approaching this destination. I feel if we do have another civilization-wide awakening, enlightenment, rebirth, revolution, whatever you like to call it, making these priorities universal will be at its root. I think soon it will be natural for everyone to agree all of humanity will first consider the well-being of our species; then the well-being of our offspring and the future of mankind; followed by the health & happiness of our fellow man; all understood and agreed before we consider any religious or political agendas.

Once these fundamentals are established we will easily be able to create many subsets of our civilization tailored to building and facilitating very different concepts of how life is meant to be lived or is most satisfactory and fulfilling. In a world where life (health) and freedom are unalienable rights, we can have happily coexisting societies based on capitalism, socialism, communism, dictatorships, and everything in between. The only requirements being no ruling party be allowed to kill or subjugate it's populace, and if an individual no longer wants to live under whatever rule or conditions they may not be prevented from leaving and seeking out their desired life and home.

In this world you'll be able to have a society where only those who similarly embrace the concept of "Pay it Forward" would be welcome, and those who do not would be required to leave and not return. And it will exist side by side with "Spartan-like" societies centered around only being given what you earn and fight for, and neither need infringe upon the other nor any other systems created despite being founded on potentially polar opposite ideals.

But until the global mindset shifts in a way which will accommodate this concept and others, it's just another idea which 'is nice in theory' but not ready for implementation.


answered 26 Oct '13, 18:48

Snow's gravatar image


edited 26 Oct '13, 20:37

the simple fact that they are divided makes that they do not understand them self and each other. even if they create and divide more it will not help them. first they need to know the truth about them self. then they will be able to know other.

(26 Oct '13, 22:43) white tiger

I disagree with your conclusion. You can have separate and independent societies, governments, economies, etc. Not only can you do this, I feel it is necessary to create a long lasting stable civilization which appropriately accommodates the greatest portion of its population in a way they desire and will make them most happy and satisfied.

Any single unified concept will inevitably invite rebels fighting for something new, unless all major options are available and accessible freely.

(26 Oct '13, 23:08) Snow

I think you have a good idea, if our governments could make "Pay it forwards" a law, then everyone would do it and it would work.

(27 Oct '13, 02:05) Wade Casaldi

I wasn't suggesting this actually be made a law or a requirement or enforced or anything like that. The point was more once you establish a few standards which are accepted throughout the whole species then this concept, and any/every other concept of a similar nature requiring mass participation in some 'greater purpose' belief, such as do unto others or pay it forward, also become immediately viable and useful and easy to establish and maintain as you see fit.

(27 Oct '13, 06:09) Snow

After this turning point in humanity if communities, societies, countries, or whatever then decide to embrace particular concepts as a culture and a standard for citizenship, they'll be free to do so and it'll be easy to create and manage because the necessary prerequisites will already be established.

How they want to live and in what type of society at that point is more an exercise in variety and experience, as well as what cultures these societies decide to embrace.

(27 Oct '13, 06:13) Snow

A less happy interpretation of what I'm saying could be "that all sounds nice but it's not going to happen without a global shift in thinking first." Without that, I don't think any of the examples are possible, or even any particularly long lasting or powerful empires. But just my opinion.

(27 Oct '13, 06:29) Snow

If anyone turned this concept into a law, I would personally come through to bring about destruction of such government.

Polarity of dualities will always produces changes and remain in state of flux for as long as they are divided. Nature of these changes are irrelevant.

(27 Oct '13, 09:56) CalonLan

We have laws against stealing, because it makes people unhappy and simply telling them don't steal, doesn't work. We have laws against threatening people, swearing in public, damaging other people's property. These are all things that should be common sense but need to be laws because people don't know better. So now if laws extend into mortality, how we treat each other we would have that utopian world. If scociety can't play together nicely then laws making them play together nice fix that.

(27 Oct '13, 11:40) Wade Casaldi

The more you restrict people, the more rebellion will appear.

Nobody wants to feel happy and positive 24/7. People would soon tire of it.

(28 Oct '13, 02:43) CalonLan

@CalonLan and everyone, I just now caught a spelling error. This phone at times puts in wrong words. Mortality should be morality. If I could edit it, I would.

(28 Oct '13, 03:32) Wade Casaldi

@CalonLan Yes I guess you can't force people to live in a utopian way. The movie Demolition Man comes to mind. There would always be people that would rebel. Everyone is happy and some people would say what if I don't want to be happy all the time?

(29 Oct '13, 00:05) Wade Casaldi
showing 2 of 11 show 9 more comments

yes i have seen the movie. well i have said it before if it is in your power to help someone you should do it.

experience and enjoy.


answered 15 Jan '12, 00:47

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

I searched several times for "Pay it Forward" and never came across your thread. Thanks for the link. It is a good thread and you had a good question. I've yet to see the movie; but have been practicing the concept all my life as well as yours.

I collect quotes - I'll add yours.

"If it is in your power to help someone you should do it" -- White Tiger (IQ)

I'm going to edit my question and add your tags... Thanks WT

(15 Jan '12, 01:33) ele

you are welcome ele. experience and enjoy.

(15 Jan '12, 01:49) white tiger

It have discussed this before however not this movie but as in a story from Chicken Soup for the Soul. I can't remember where I posted it but here is the story.

A man was driving along and happened upon a car in an accident, he checked quickly and no one was hurt. There was a blow out and the car skidded off road. He asked if he could help the lady in the car. She agreed, so he opened his trunk and pulled out a hoist then proceeded to lift the car off the ground and changed the tire for the woman. The women thanked him, he said now I will have nothing of it mam pay it never mind or if you insist on paying for it then as I have done for you do for another a good deed you see fit and I will gladly accept that as payment. The woman drove away grateful for the act of kindness thinking God sent her an angel and as God sent her an angel she would as so repay God as to let him make her someone else's angel. For not long had she traveled when the opportunity arrived. She had settled down in a restaurant for a meal and she overheard her waitress talking to another waitress saying "Soon the baby will be coming and I wont be able to work anymore. Joe and I are so worried, he can't make the payments either he is out of work." The lady said to the waitress, "Is everything okay in your life?" The waitress, sobbed and said, "I am sorry if you overheard that please don't tell my manager I really need this job!" The women said, "No, no dear, I was young like you once, I know how hard life can be." "Please if there is anyway you need help let me know." The waitress said, "Thank you so much but this is beyond help my husband and I are going to lose our home we can't pay the rent. Much worse I have a baby on the way, we keep praying to God for an answer." The woman said, "well you never know when God will send an angel your way, keep up your faith." The women ate her meal and said to the waitress before she left, "I left a little something for you back at the table." When the waitress went back she could hardly believe her eyes it was a $500 tip check! She called her husband and when she called he said she is glad he called because he had a story to tell about his day. He said he was driving along and found some woman in an accident along the road in some bushes, he told how he had changed her tire and sent her on her way. He told how nice she was and how he told her to pay this good deed to someone else. His wife said, "Wow that is good but my story is the best, a women came in to the diner today, Joe our worries are over everything is going to be okay....." She then told him her story.

There was another story I remember of a lousy cab ride to which and rider said thank you that and smiled paying the cab driver while complimenting him. His partner said, "why did you thank him and compliment him, he was a lousy cab driver!" He responded back, "My words may be the only good words that cab driver has heard today. As I have done him a good service he will as well do a good service to the next person. For misery does spread, but as well love and appreciation does spread. which do I choose to spread? If you ask me, I choose happiness."


answered 15 Jan '12, 22:51

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

Wade - Yes, very good stories - I've also read the Chicken Soup for Soul books. I thought your last story came from one of Joel Osteen's books - maybe "Your Best Life, Now". If you haven't read it - please do - I think you'll like it. The concept is NOT new - more people became familiar with it due to the movie.

Like I said - I searched and couldn't find any threads similar - guess I didn't use the right key words. I'll search for your thread.

(16 Jan '12, 00:36) ele

I guess I having been thinking about this subject a lot since the Holidays. It was going on ALL across the country and in my area too. It made the news every night - whether someone was paying for a meal or someone's gas or groceries or paying off other's lay-a-way charges. These generous souls all told the grateful recipients to do a kindness for someone else when they could - no one wanted to be paid back. Haven't heard much about it since. It's NOT something we should do ONLY at the Holidays

(16 Jan '12, 00:37) ele

That is right Ele, for instants Thanks Giving, my pastor says Thanks Giving should be every day a day to be thankful to God. It is the same with "The spirit of Christmas" It should be felt and expressed all years as Christians not only once a year. We represent God's Kingdom not only this as aware souls we feel for our brothers and sisters of humanity their suffering is ours their joy is ours.

(16 Jan '12, 02:46) Wade Casaldi

I don't know who Joel Osteen is but if you recomend his book I'll have to check it out. :-)

(16 Jan '12, 02:47) Wade Casaldi

@Wade - Joel Scott Osteen is an televangelist, and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world.

(16 Jan '12, 14:48) ele

@Wade Please DON"T research the author until AFTER you read the book. He's become controversial due to his prosperity theology which I agree with and his social views which I do NOT agree with. Had I seen him prior to reading his books - I probably would NOT have read them; but NOT because of his message - because his message is - God wants ONLY the Best for US - wants us to lead our Best life - to Prosper. Much like the LOA - change your thinking (beliefs) and it will change your life. I don't watch his telecast; but I highly recommend his book.

(16 Jan '12, 14:49) ele

@Wade . Hope you like the book and I'm honored you value my opinion.

My cousin used to belong to his church before moving to another state. When her mom died; another parishioner (who they ONLY knew to see) gave her and her husband his frequent flyer miles; enough to enable her and her husband as well as their 2 kids to fly home. She and her husband are living their "Best Life" and they attribute it to Joel Osteen.

(16 Jan '12, 14:50) ele
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