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A World Without The 'Ex-Lax'
On incentives & living from the heart - with a comical story about a prank.
I recently recalled a memory of something that happened when I was about 18. I’ve recalled this memory many times over the years because of the powerful lesson that came from it.
I’ll share my tale with you.
A bunch of friends and I were up at a cottage and were looking to play a prank on one of our friends. Chocolate cake and chocolate Ex lax, you get the idea.
The guy we were planning to play the prank on was a sizeable fan of the cake we had, so naturally it wouldn’t be hard to offer him multiple pieces.
As we offered him the first piece, his eyes lit up as he realized it was his favorite cake. He was overjoyed to receive it, had a big smile on his face, and was appreciative that his friends were giving him his favorite cake.
Little did he know of our sinister agenda.
He finished the first piece and we offered him another. He accepted and ate away. We all tried to act natural and hold off from laughing. We wanted him to get enough ex-lax into his system before realizing what was going on.
The joy on his face and in his demeanour was just as evident during the 2nd piece as it was for the first. He had no clue what we were up to, and was in happy chocolate land.
This was a moment where he perceived the cake we gave him as nothing but a gift. A one way street to his enjoyment where we would get nothing in return but the pleasure of giving to a friend.
Yet behind the scenes we were actually incentivized by the fact that we were going to laugh our asses off when he was on the toilet for the next six hours.
After his second piece, which contained more than enough to produce several ‘smooth moves,’ we told him what was going on.
Panic set in on his face. He knew that he was stuck with what happened and had to go through it now.
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But guess what? Other than some light stomach rumbling, nothing happened. And I’m glad. Looking back on it many times over the years, it serves us right that we’d only give our friend a gift to get something in return! lol
What strikes me about this event was the look on his face when he received his favorite thing from his friends for no reason. He was happy, appreciative, and in a state of joy. That touched me more than anything else. I didn’t even need the laughs and giggles of the prank once I noticed the joy of someone being happy.
I want to see a world without the Ex lax. A world where we are embodied enough and present enough to notice a deeper felt sense of joy in the small things. I want for us to be more in tune with the happiness we can bring to others with a small act of kindness.
I do think many people are kind, but I also think that there can be many other pressures and voices within ourselves that hinder our ability to act from this space. Instead the louder voice can sometimes state: “What do I have to give up to do this or give this to a person?” or “What will I get out of it?” or “What difference will this even make?”
Giving doesn’t have to be huge. It can be some of your time. Some care. Some food or water. Helping to clean up a neighbourhood. Why do we walk past a piece of trash on a walk without picking it up? Have you ever examined what you think when you walk past trash while walking? I’m not suggesting there is an action we must take, but I’m encouraging us to become aware of the thought process we go through while walking past it.
For me, I pick up trash commonly on my own street and at gas stations when I’m filling up. But I walk past it in many other cases, sometimes because I feel people will look at me and think I’m weird, lol. It’s useful to become aware of that.
In the end, plenty has to change in our world to truly create a thriving place, but I believe we can create a world without the ex lax right now simply by becoming aware of the power of kindness, and exploring what stories might hold us back from doing ‘the little things’ sometimes.
For deeper thoughts on societal change, check out the following essay: