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Darren Chow is a full time writer, web developer, and Internet marketer. He graduated from the National University of Singapore and started dabbling in web design while still studying. Today, he spends his time writing for established websites and promoting websites for clients.
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Christmas is just round the corner, and this blog post is for you if you are doing some last minute Christmas shopping. Perhaps you can get some great gift ideas from this post.

Much of this blog is about making money on the Internet – article marketing, search engine optimization, link building, etc. So I hope the year has been a fruitful year for you, and that you have made a lot of money in the past 12 months.

If you have been listening carefully to what I have been teaching, then I have no doubt that you are indeed making good money (or you are on your way to making good money).

While it is a great thing to be earning money online, I feel it’s also important to learn important lessons in life from the game of money making.

I call money making for what it really is – a game…nothing more, and nothing less.

Some people may protest upon hearing that making money is nothing more than a game (and a silly one I might add). They go, “I have mouths to feed, bills to pay, dreams to fulfill, etc. How can you call it a game?”

Well, then let’s put it this way – making money is a silly game but with serious rules and consequences.

How so?

Now if you really sit back and think about it, what is it that you really need in your life? This is a profound question, so you may not be able to come up with a good answer upfront. No worries. I’ll paint you a picture of what most people really need.

There has been a lot of confusion about “needs” and “wants”. As a marketer, you should NOT join the confused bunch and call a “want” a “need” and vice versa.

Every person only has several basic needs – food, water, clothing, and shelter. How many needs do you see there? Four. Just FOUR basic needs. And really, except for mortgage payments, basic needs are quite easy to meet.

It is the “WANTS” that we have to be careful about. These wants are really just DESIRES, and desires are unlimited. That means you can REALLY REALLY work yourself to the ground chasing after your own desires if you do not monitor the desires that are arising inside you.

Oh, before I forget. Notice that it is really easy to mistake a “want” for a “need”. For example, “Every family has an Xbox with Kinect sensors this Christmas. I NEED one too!” Ha ha, that is not how it works my friend. The desire for an Xbox kinect is something that you want. You don’t really need it.

“But Christmas seems a lot more brighter and fun with a kinect set…”

Very true.

So if you can afford it, BUY IT!

Everyone can have dreams and desires. That is perfectly normal. The thing is, why is it so easy for someone to mistake a “want” for a “need”?

I can give you one good answer. – These people have not recognized the power within themselves to create. To create not just wealth, but just about anything.

These people have not recognized the power within themselves to create. To create not just wealth, but just about anything.

And because they have not paid any attention to the “stuff” inside them, they do not recognize what arises from within. Needs…wants…everything appears jumbled up. What a confusing world it must be for these people.

In my country (I live in Singapore for those who is just getting to know me), there is a delicious dish called “Rojak”. This is a salad dish with a mixture of many different types of fruits and vegetables.

So in a way, these confused people are kind of living in a “rojak” manner. They have no idea what is going on inside them, and since the outside world is a mere reflection of the inside world, these individuals also have no idea what is happening in the outside world. – Not a very wise way to live.

So what then, is considered to be wise behavior?

You already know the answer to this question. In fact, you have the answers to ALL the problems in your life. Look inside you, and you will find the intelligence that guides you. Will you trust that intelligence?

See, the problem is, most people don’t look within themselves for answers. And even if they do, they might skip something that is trying to catch their attention because that “something” appears too mundane.

Something as mundane as KINDNESS.

It’s something that we encounter on a daily basis, but not something that we pay a lot of attention to.

Why?

I’d like to think that’s because most people don’t understand how KARMA works. If you truly understand the way our world is designed to work, then you realize – acts of genuine kindness can get you out of poverty.

Acts of genuine kindness can get you out of poverty.

But somehow, just stating the above in black and white doesn’t sound very convincing.

“What…acts of kindness can get me out of poverty? Stop kidding me! I NEED and WANT money. How does being kind help me get richer?”

Well then, perhaps you have heard of this irrefutable law – “Only those who reap shall sow.

So how does this law work? Let’s see it in action.

Let’s meet our fictitious hero John. John is a man in his forties who have just lost his job due to some unfortunate reason. At first, he was living on his savings, and he thought, “All is fine, I have some savings, and can easily keep up with the rent for the next few months. That will give me enough time to find a job.”

But a few months went by, and John still couldn’t find a job. His savings ran out and soon, the rent started to creep up from behind him and overtook him. Unable to pay the rent, John found himself homeless. As he wandered the streets, his world caved in on him, and he thought, “What a miserable life I’m leading now. I’ll never be able to make it out of poverty.”

So, what do you think John can do to turn his life around?

Of course, this story has a happy ending, and the ending that I’ve chosen is based on a true life account of a homeless man.

Without money, John had very few places to visit. He loitered around the streets and at night, before the restaurants closed, he would visit the back alleys to search the garbage cans for scraps of food thrown away by the restaurants.

There was this particular restaurant that we would visit almost every night because there was an abundance of good food being thrown away. Whenever the waitress took out the trash, she would see John waiting at the back alley.

Now John was a decent person. He wasn’t the kind to go around creating trouble or making things difficult for others. So the waitress didn’t chase him away.

Being kind by nature, John started to clean up the back alley of the restaurant for no pay. He was the kind the man who didn’t believe in taking something for nothing. There is something inside him that appears to be guiding him. He wanted to treat others with decency – the same way that he would like to be treated. So in return for the food he got, he worked hard to keep the back alley clean and orderly.

One night, the waitress invited John into the restaurant. For the first time in months, John was able to sit down to a hot meal with his dignity intact.

The evening was already something extraordinary for John, but something else made the night even more special.

A dishwasher hadn’t turned up for work and John was offered a job!

Just like that, due to this acts of kindness, John got himself a job. Eventually, he went on to run several successful businesses.

Now this is a fictitious story but the ending of the story is based on a true life account. In any case, I think you can understand that John’s life is not so uncommon after all. A lot of things that we take for granted in our lives are fragile (e.g. our jobs and our income). Without income, the possibility of being homeless becomes very real. I think we can all identify with a character like John.

One reason why I created this story is to remind everyone that it is perhaps now a good time to give. Earning money is great, but after earning all that money, what do you want to do with it?

** awkward pause **

A tiny voice in your head goes, “Give it away or share it with others.”

So you start giving away all the money you earned. (See, told you making money was a silly game.)

Now we are on the topic of giving. I’m assuming here that you have earned enough. If not, you can always earn more, no problem. Back to the topic of giving…

Giving can exist in many different forms.

Some forms of giving come with the expectation of return – “you scratch my back and I scratch yours.” This is a more transactional type of giving, and it’s more of “Goodwill Giving”. There is nothing wrong with this type of giving, and it happens every single day, especially in business settings.

Perhaps one good example of this form of giving is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is supposed to be a free online encyclopedia for everyone. It is a form of giving in an altruistic sense (more on this later), yet it takes money to run the project on such a huge magnitude.

Hence, if you visit Wikipedia these days, you will see a huge banner right at the top of every Wikipedia article with an appeal from Jimmy Wales (the founder of Wikipedia) for donations.

In other words, if you want to see the law of “reaping what you sow” in action in a more direct sense, then be sure to include some form of mechanism for the kindness to be returned to you.

Of course, some forms of giving, you give just because you WANT to give. No mechanism for returns is needed. The act of giving kindly can feel your heart with warmth and love and perhaps that is enough.

Giving, in its purest sense, doesn’t involve any reciprocity. There are many kind people walking this Earth that give in an altruistic manner without a single shred of expectation for return. This form of giving we see most often in Charities or in religious settings.

It so happens that the spirit of giving during the festive season is also about altruistic giving.

As Christmas approaches, I’m working hard at psyching myself up to be altruistic – i.e. no cheap gifts for relatives who ALWAYS buy cheap gifts.

Hey, I’m human. That’s a tough thing to do okay. YOU try it!

So with an imaginary halo on top of my head, I tried my best to put together a Christmas shopping list. Here it is…

1) A barbie doll for the mischievous nephew who never fail to irritate me so that I can watch him cry. – The downside of this gift is that I have to follow up with a G.I. Joe super toy to make it up to him.

2) Chocolates for my toothless grandparents. I know they will give the chocs back to me to share with the kids. – Downside? I have to bear with their nagging for the entire holiday. Hmm…bad idea.

3) A bag of ice water for that proud uncle who thinks he is a hot hunk (though he is far from it). I can just say he melted the gift away and save the money on presents. – Downside, if I crush his ego during Christmas, I’m never going to get him to send me virtual gifts for my Facebook Zynga games. Maybe I’ll risk that.

4) Bells for the house cat. So that mice, rodents and birds can hear her coming from a mile away and get away quickly. – Downside, she will try to trip me up like a thousand times when we are having Christmas dinner, and then hear the bells ring in my head when I fall. Ouch!

Hope you are able to get some inspiration from the above shopping list. And if you can’t tell that I’m just kidding, then we can’t be friends.

So, how about some “Goodwill Giving” to end off this Christmas blog post? I’m supposed to put in some mechanism so that you can buy some stuff from me and benefit from the special discounts and stuff.

Here they are:

1) http://www.fastsubmitarticles.com – article distribution service

2) http://www.epressdistribution.com – press release distribution

3) http://www.blogcontentsyndication.com – blog posting service

Oh, and if you are wondering if I accidentally forgot to make the links clickable, then let me just assure you that it was no accident.

I made them unclickable so that you can have an excuse to leave this site, save your money, and do some last minute shopping for your family and friends. 🙂

Hope that you have enjoyed this Christmas blog post, and I apologize for giving you goose pimples when I mention stuff like “altruistic giving” and “love”.

Also, hope that I’ve managed to lighten up your heart a little with a few good laughs and prepare you for the holiday season that (I hope) you are SOoooo looking forward to. It’s way easier to approach the festive season in a light hearted mood isn’t it?

Thanks for coming along for the ride 🙂

Nothing to buy here.

So shoo. Be kind, be rich, and be successful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.