Not being from India or anyplace where the concept of karma is taught much less embraced, I am unexpectedly buoyed by the idea that something you do today will effect your next life or next meeting. Once again, not having been formally schooled in karma, I’m not quite sure of the details, including just how quickly a good turn begets another.
I come from Manhattan, where NOT filching someone’s parking spot or cab will get you dirty looks from everyone who would have, had they enjoyed the access you had. Maybe that’s the stereotype, but it’s also true more often than not in my experience. Of course, Manhattan also has a surfeit of legitimate theater, the intellectual cornucopia of 92nd street Y and bagels at the Broadway Deli to die for.
So when I came out to Los Angeles, which looks a lot like a laid back place because almost no restaurant is open after 10 PM, it looked a lot more calm and forgiving than it actually is. LA is not a friendly town. In part, the distance between where you live and anything else you do is traversed only by car, with a smattering of wistful public transit options that might one day allow you to go from downtown to the beach (as if that’s the only route we would travel in this sprawling non-city of a city).
Karma comes up because there are a nearly endless number of anonymous people you can ignore since other than your clutch of friends and business associates, pretty much no one interacts. It’s kind of like Dirty Dancing. This is my dance space and this is your dance space.
Where you live it’s probably somewhere between LA and Manhattan, if not geographically at least metaphysically, emotionally or spiritually. But no matter where you live – including the places you live online like your blog, FB page, Instagram, G+ circle, Twitter, Pinterest and the like:
Have you ever considered how you feel and act toward strangers might one day be visited back on you?
Would that change the way you interact with people?
Would that make you offer some help to a tourist, pull over if you are driving too slow while attempting to find a parking place, tweet where there’s a traffic jam, or phone a former work colleague to check in on her job search?
You may be counting calories, cataloging your wardrobe into the new Closet app, or do a project management plan to organize and measure the progress of a business plan.
Have you considered monitoring how much good karma you earn each day? If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – and by “it” I mean your behavior.
How would your outlook, prospects for the future and good fortune possibly be framed or changed, if you believed that by doing good for others you did well for yourself.
I was recently given a compliment that felt as momentous as a blessing. A former student who is a big deal at a major studio asked me to write a letter or recommendation for her. It was a pleasure to write – her project had been deftly created for our class and her work ethic got her the sometimes two hour drive from work to school for 12 weeks. When I simply said, “Yes, thank you for asking me.” She replied, “Wow, you must have great karma.”
Her words fell on me like a soft warm blanket on a hail struck, cold night.
I wish you great karma.
Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen