I wrote this for a scholarship with the prompt 'what do you think is the appropriate balance between financial success and giving back?' The main point I make here is that giving back should be more than just donating money. But, rather giving some of your time in areas where you know you have the talents and skills to contribute most.
Why? I couldn't understand why this one man in South Korea, Hyunwoo Sun, created 'Talk to Me in Korean.com' and has shared valuable, quality information for free about the Korean language.
He posted a Youtube' video titled 'The Ultimate Goal of Talk to Me In Korean,' the answer to the question I've been wanting to know: “What's in it for you Hyunwoo Sun?” And, on the video he said 'The biggest achievement of Talk to Me in Korean would be you, our learners, not needing the site.' A shocking goal statement, but one all the more very inspiring.
Hyunwoo Sun is a good example for answering the question “what is the balance between financial success and giving back.” He demonstrates the point I intend to make here that the balance between 'giving back' and financial success should not just be donating money to support causes, but rather supporting causes in areas where you know you have the talents and skills to contribute most to. This is not to say people should not fund a initiative program. If there were not people like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey donating massive funds to initiative programs then many might not survive, but donations come in many other forms besides money. In fact, money often comes from the "donations" of talent and skill from people.
The best possible way to really serve or help other people is to use our talents and skills perfect for a certain service in supporting a cause. People recognize Hyunwoo Sun all over the world for his uncanny knack to speak a language like a native and teach it with striking accuracy. With his talent to learn a language and skill to operate and run many sites (among other skills), Hyunwoo Sun built a reputation for himself which moved people to support the cause he supports, improving language learning, with donations (money or talent and skills). The site is still running strong with new podcasts every week and thousands of users worldwide.
Though Hyunwoo Sun probably does not have a successful career with a big salary at 'Talk to Me in Korean,' the money he does get from users and other donators he only invests in the site to continue helping learners of Korean. Outside of the cyber network dedicated to language learning, Hyunwoo Sun works at various universities and in other education communities in South Korea where he provides language tutoring services the schools willing pay him to teach. The success story of 'Talk to Me in Korean' and Hyunwoo Sun's recognition in education represents the meaningful relationship between service and financial success. Before financial success there must be service, and service builds a meaningful reputation needed to reap financial success. Hence, the philosophy “Serving to Earn; Giving to Keep.”
Hyunwoo Sun served beginners of the Korean language and earned a meaningful reputation. He donated knowledge which took him years to amass, shared it with the world, and in the meanwhile kept improving his talents and skills allowing him to keep helping people learn Korean. “Serving to Earn and Giving to Keep,” the results of the purposeful actions come hand in hand. Service provides an avenue through which to continue doing what we love, but over time our reason for doing evolves from mere passion to serving a purpose bigger than ourselves through our passion. There is nothing in my opinion like knowing our contributions in art, education, or anything our heart goes out to changed someone's life or experience for the better.
On one of the 'Talk to Me in Korean.com' podcasts, Hyunwoo Sun enthusiastically says to listeners how proud his is of them even as they get better and better at Korean. He shares the same gratification his listeners, me included, have when they improve at speaking Korean. Realization of the special contribution of our talents and skills doesn't get any better than knowing how it helps so many people. Knowing our efforts in sharing our talents and skills helps people on many levels fuels our passion, keeps reinvigorating it when it could easily fade with monotonous self-enjoyment of it. Money alone can't do this. It can't do what we ourselves can achieve best by investing our talents and skills through service which benefits the served as much as the one earnestly trying to give. Realizing the balance of financial success and service occurs when we give some of our time to a service important to us where we know our talents and skills can help most. Then, we realize the significance of our contributions no else can give to those who benefit most from it.
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