We say the word and understand its meaning implicitly.
We know what life is, and how it continues to exist through various means of procreation.
But procreation is not enough. Life also needs nurturing and care, as well as food and shelter. Life does not simply make a copy of itself to continue its existence, this is not enough for survival. The Old must also give a part of itself to the New; the old must pay it forward.
The Old nurtures the young, and the strong gives strength to the weak. There is something special about this process of renewal and nurture, something organic that makes perfect sense to us. Life must eventually die to feed new life, or life itself ceases to exist.
For this reason and others, when we see a parent abandon a child, we know intuitively that this is wrong and counter to life. When we die, we don't get to take our possessions or our knowledge with us, and if we don't pay it forward we are holding back for ourselves and acting as a barrier for progress, instead of being a wind that carries someone forward without interfering in the direction they choose. The young that don't receive the proper nurturing and care grow up to be less than whole, and they in turn have less to pass forward to the generation after them.
It's only as I get older that I really begin to appreciate what it means to pay it forward. We can either be a creative force in the lives of others, or we can be destructive. It is a choice we all have.
Destructive people are selfish and greedy, always keeping an eye on their own wealth first, yet the value of who they are and how they contribute is worth little. On an economic scale, they are hoarders for the sake of hoarding and power. In relationships they take but never give. In the workplace they sabotage others and create a toxic atmosphere. In social settings they cause tension and anxiety and even fear.
However, paying it forward is a creative force that empowers those who have energy, and gives meaning where there wasn't before. When others pay it forward to us, we can feel an array of emotions, and at the same time gain motivation to succeed where only doubt or fear existed before. It is a reassuring gesture of confidence from one person to the other that says:
I believe in you, enough that I am willing to give something I value to you
image source: wikipedia
It can be money, wisdom, possessions, your imagination is the limit. Anything that we possess that helps us in life, can also help others in their life as well. Our time in this life is limited, and we can either be bitter towards those who are younger or weaker or poorer than us, or we can do a real solid for life itself and help others to be successful. It doesn't even have to be someone who is weaker or poorer or younger than you either.
When we realize that something we possess could be better utilized in the hands of someone else, we either become jealous and destructive towards them, or we pay our success forward to them in the hopes that life itself has a net positive gain.
And to my surprise (not really), Steem is layered in ways to pay it forward, but one little feature that I really like is Beneficiaries. I find the feature interesting enough that it prompted me to write this post.
Paying it forward is why the most recent hard fork brought me to this platform. The 50/50 split in curation may seem counter-intuitive at first, but given some thought and observation it is readily apparent that a 50/50 split is the only payment ratio that makes any sense at all.
It all comes down to motivation, both for the content creator and the curator. Both need each other, and the relationship is mutually beneficial when both are equally rewarded. Content creators are more motivated to create new content if they know that others have motivation to upvote new content.
But it's not just about the upvotes and the payouts, it's knowing that there are real eyes seeing your post, reading and weighing and considering what you've written. Even if the motivation is to find something good to curate, there is still that sense of connectedness with the entire process that there wasn't before the hard fork. Does a performer feel motivated to do their best if there is no audience?
Before the recent hard fork, I'm honestly not even sure how Steem was functional - at least for 99% of accounts.
Thankfully, with the latest hard fork Steem has become useful and interesting for more than just the Whales. Users can follow curation trails, or actively search for content to upvote. Content creators can actually hit the trending page and find out rather quickly if the payout for their post is deserving.
I think the best part of all, is that Steem has crossed this bridge during the tail end of an alt-coin bear market, giving all of us small fish the ability to power up Steem without selling a kidney. There's nothing wrong with Steem being so cheap, but it won't be forever.
As long as Steem keeps moving in this direction, I think we'll be more than fine. Never have content creators and curators been on the same page as much as they are now. It really seems so obvious in the here and now that these changes were the answer all along, but as they say "hindsight is 20/20," and its also a good idea to not fall into the trap of hindsight bias.
So as I continue to enjoy Steem and get more involved, I can do so knowing that the platform allows me to pay it forward, even as others have already helped me and given me motivation in the short time I've been here.
And just like with life, the whole (of Steem) is greater than the sum of its parts.
This wasn't true before HF21/22, but it is true now, at least it is to me - and this only helps to add value to Steem, and with value comes more active users, and with more active users comes more eyes, and with more eyes comes more content creators, until the whole thing reaches critical mass and the growth cannot be contained.
Thank you for visiting and reading this blog, I hope that in some small way you have benefited. Please stay safe and keep your head up.