Saturday 1482 – 3rd March 2012
When I was driving up in the Lake District on the 23rd February I was listening to the Chris Evan’s Breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, just after 9 a.m. There’s a 5 minute slot at that time called Pause for Thought which is usually presented by a minister of one faith or another.
On this particular day it was presented by Simon Cohen who created the company Global Tolerance in November 2003. They’re an international communications agency that only works with people committed to positive social change. You can read about the company here
Below is the transcript of Simon Cohen’s Pause for Thought :-
“I get to work with all kinds of weird and wonderful people, from the Dalai Lama, to Gandhi’s grandson and even Wallace & Gromit, but one person who will always stick in my mind is a guy called John, who works for the Post Office.
We only ever met once, but when we were together, he confided in me. He said, ‘Simon, a few weeks ago my mum died. And on her death-bed, she said to me ‘Son’- Actually, I’m not sure she sounded quite like that, but bear with me, ‘Son, there are three types of people in this world: adders, subtractors and multipliers.’
When you’re with adders, you feel empowered, energised, your soul smiles a bit with every encounter. The subtractors – and like the adders, they could be a partner, colleague, or someone in your family – they leave you somehow feeling less, subtracted from, as though, to add to their own energy, they take something from you. And then there are multipliers. Now, if you are lucky, you might be married to one – or they might be someone you meet just once in your life, like John – and they set off something disproportionate within you – the Multiplier Effect.
We can all think of people who fit these categories, but it is perhaps more challenging to ask ‘who am I to them?’ For many years I saw my dad as a subtractor in my life – not always – but a subtractor nonetheless. But when I asked myself ‘who am I to him?’ and realised that I might be a subtractor, it transformed our relationship, as I determined to be an adder or a multiplier. We are now the best of friends.
It can be helpful to consider who the adders, subtractors and multipliers are in our lives, and who we let in to the inner circles of our heart. But by going through an honest listening process, we can strive to be multipliers in each other’s lives. So who are you going to be today, An adder, subtractor or a multiplier? “
I have been thinking about what he said every day since and thought I’d share it with you today.
Whilst I may well be considered to be an adder in my working life, having always been involved in Nursing or Social Care, I’m sorry to say that I have not always been an adder in my personal/ family life and probably very rarely, if ever, a multiplier. I have been held back by disproportionate fear; in my case fear of going back to the poverty from whence I came.
This fear of mine has stopped me being free to act spontaneously ; something I am trying hard to rectify in my later years. I feel I have sometimes been a subtractor in my children’s lives as I have not always been able to encourage them to fly free and live worry free lives: following their dreams. They have undoubtedly been hampered by my insecurities and the wearing of my sensible head !
That saddens me but the past is the past and I cannot get it back. I can only move forward and endeavour to try in future to be at the very least an adder in my children’s and other people’s lives and try never to be a subtractor.
Saturday Girl will leave you with this thought -When you look into your own heart are you more an Adder, a Subtractor or a Multiplier ? If you suspect you might be a subtractor are you able to try to change that?
Addendum re Nicholas and Carren Post from 2 weeks ago which you can read here I wrote to Plan about how they choose the children for sponsorship and I have added their reply to the original post
There’s a reminder of what this blog is about here
You can see lots of photos on my other blog Helen’s Photomania here