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Can I still be magnanimous in this complex world?

In 2015, I took part in something we called Trial and Error. Together with Brian, a friend and partner in this project, we decided to approach eight companies to pitch an idea of potential partnership. In total, we pitched to eight companies and after the third, we could almost predict the questions that we would be asked: “What is in it for us?”

In a world where individualism seems to be the new normal, it is almost scary to experience the virtue of magnanimity from someone. Once I came across a boda boda rider who could not trace a place he had promised to take me. I was so shocked when he suggested that I should not pay, because I had not reached my destination. A friend of mine told me that he does not believe that there are people who are magnanimous anymore. He believes that everyone who goes out of themselves is seeking something in return. How would you respond if he asked for your opinion on this?

Many a time, we find it easy to give a dog a bone after enjoying the meat. We never imagine that the dog will also find the meat as enjoyable.

We are used to doing big things, but in the process failing to take notice of the many opportunities to be magnanimous in small things. We are happy hosting our friends for a party to celebrate our birthday yet never take the trouble to ask our classmate whether he has got some lunch or can afford a snack. St. Josemaria Escriva insists that “Magnanimity gives us the energy to break out of ourselves and be prepared to undertake generous tasks which will be of benefit to all”

When we get out of ourselves and reverse the question above to, “What is in it for him/her?” then we experience the power of giving oneself without reservation and experiencing the joy that we can only feel, and cannot describe.

The fantastic opportunities to be magnanimous are all around us and we require no visual aid to notice them. All we need is the heart willing to go out of oneself, a heart willing to give all we have for the benefit of others.

How about making a point to say ‘thank you’ to the conductor after a ‘bumpy’ ride? How about passing by the local grocery shop and ask the ‘mama mboga’ how the business is and what her wishes are? How about stopping by a cobbler on your way to the university and ask about their dreams? How about complimenting the waiter after serving you?

So much to be done. Just look around and do not hesitate to be magnanimous.


This article was written by Gabriel Dinda

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