Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Pass It Forward

I was introduced to a man who goes by the name Crazy Columbian by Maverick Woman. She suggested that there was some synergy in what we were trying to achieve. It transpires that Crazy Columbian is the founder and CEO of the Pay it Forward Australia. It is an important story which has inspired me. His story is as follows.

In the year 2000, Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a book called ‘Pay it forward‘ which made it to the big screen that same year. A wonderful story, it tells of a little boy who decides to start a “pyramid scheme with a twist” as a school project. The pyramid scheme is based on you doing something good for 3 strangers, and ask them to ‘pay it forward’. As people pass the goodness of their hearts forward, the world becomes a better place. This little boy starts with the desire to change the world, one step at a time, and finds some obstacles as he tries to do ‘good deeds’ and to get the recipients to Pay it Forward.

The story was uplifting, and left a deep mark on my soul when I saw the movie. But it took me 7 more years to realise I can be like that little boy, and start a Life project to encourage other people to pay it forward. As I worked on the idea with my life partner Ines, we agreed to slightly change the name to ‘Pass it Forward’. We believed that you can’t Pay for acts of kindness; only pass that kindness to someone else.

The concept of the card came from a smashing success by internet columnist Randy Casingham with his ‘Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free‘ (aka GOOHF) cards over the last several years. If he was able to create a card to encourage others to use humour in their everyday life - especially when confronting difficult situations - why not do the same for the Pass It Forward movement?

The concept of trying to change the world, one step at a time came to me in November 2006 as I went through some personal re-evaluation of my life, was inspired to focus on what really matters in life. As a result, I started changing many aspects of my life and started working on the creation of Pass it Forward in Australia.

Diego Villaveces (Crazy Columbian) has a vision of inspiring 5 million incremental acts of kindness by 2012.

Having shared some DMs with him (yes real ones) I am very much looking forward to our imminent first conversation. It is interesting how our approaches to what is essentially a similar goal differs. Diego is successfully persuading people to perform acts of kindness directly, whereas I am trying to achieve that by reporting the deeds from the recipients point of view. Either way I am starting to uncover many groups across the globe who have a goal to spread kindness. I will look forward to maybe starting a dialogue with them too in time.


  1. Hello Yan Yo,

    yes, this is Diego (The crazy Colombian) dropping by and saying Thank You for your recent article about the movement I started over 2 years ago. I hope we can collaborate in the quest for leaving the world a kinder place, and that this collaboration will help me get closer to my goal of 5 million incremental acts of deliberate kindness.

    Take care, and thanks again for the article,

    Diego (The crazy Colombian)

  2. I hope in my small way to contribute to your quest. It is a good, right and relevant quest. I applaud an am inspired by your approach. Look forward to speaking to you more.