Many friends tell me I always make the most original gifts or the best-personalized congratulations on different celebrations and anniversaries. So I decided today I will share with you what I consider some of the greatest gifts to give or receive.
I have recently seen a beautiful film called The Ultimate Gift. If you treat the story as a modern fairy tale, you can skip that it’s pathetic in its tear-jerking mission. Instead, it’s about a young man who discovers what are stated to be the most important 12 gifts one may receive or give.
The Ultimate Gift, which won over the hearts of critics and audiences during its limited release this spring, is now available on DVD. Starring Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin, Drew Fuller, James Garner, Ali Hillis, and Brian Dennehy, and based on the best-selling book by Jim Stovall, The Ultimate Gift is an unforgettable, involving story that has already created a solid grass-roots movement of giving and inspired millions of dollars of donations to charity.
I will elaborate on that, and I will illustrate some of these with examples and some of my own experiences.
The gift of work.
My first job was a dream job. In June 2001, I had my first job in Iaşi. I was hired by a young entrepreneur as a film critic for the local publication “Nopţi Albe” (White Nights). That was a great honor because I have always been a film fan. My job was to write a little about each of the 6-8 movies running on 4 screens/cinemas: Victoria, Republica, The Students’ Culture House, and Dacia, and choose one film to do a one-page review each week. The print run of the publication: 5000. The publication appeared each Friday.
After 3 weeks, I was promoted to the cultural editor – doubling the number of pages I handled and covering all the cultural events in Iaşi: theatre, vernissages, exhibitions, concerts, books, launches, etc. My job was to document and review each of them. I was credited officially as a “redactor” (editor).
This was an excellent experience for me. I worked mainly independently (there were 4 people on the team), sometimes intersecting my activity with a colleague from advertising. 25 % was fieldwork: gathering information from the sources. A few years before I learned it in the faculty, my boss taught me how to use advanced formulas for finding specific information on Google. So I proudly have had a great example of receiving the gift of work from him. Thank you, Cosmin!
A challenge in this job was dealing with the film office, allowing me to see free films. They wanted me to push specific titles, and I wanted to choose others. They didn’t feel so good when I downgraded blockbusters like “Jurassic Park 3”. In the end, nobody dared enter my field. All I was writing was getting published, and I kept my privileges even if I made a mistake and even after being fired.
The initiative was Avant-la-Lettre, and the review magazine was followed a few years after by B24Fun (also in Iaşi), Şapte Seri, and Tot O Dată. But in August 2001, “Nopţi Albe” was shut down, and everybody was fired. But it was a great beginning for me. I wrote about it more in 20+ Years of Publishing: A Story with Very Little Storytelling But Lots of Lessons.
The gift of money
After I finished high school, my mother agreed to materially support my status as a student. She allowed me to follow multiple specializations, subscribe to many faculties, and finally decide in my III year of faculty what fields I wanted to approach. During those years, I made many mistakes and wasted many resources, but I have learned my lessons, and the investments proved worthwhile. Added to one another, all the faculty, training, ng, and formations I have done were more than 10.000 euros just in taxes and admissions – which is enormous for Romania, even more considering it was the first decade of the century. If my mother hadn’t agreed to pay for all of these, I wouldn’t have the higher education which currently allows me to make such elaborate comments that you enjoy reading from me. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have been able to have the clients I had for the consulting services t provided.
So I am who I am, thanks to my mother. Thank you, mom!
The gift of friends
One of the most successful gifts I have ever made was a cup of coffee. In 2006, I spent quite some time on the internet with Yahoo Messenger (Romania’s favorite instant messaging service is YM). One of the many friends I have made virtually over the years is Iasmina Iordache, who has been specializing in translation between Romanian, English, and French. Back then, she lived in Timişoara. We have never met, but I made her one of the most memorable gifts she ever received, not in content but in form.
One day, she was a little bit upset and down on morale, and I asked her: what would make you feel better? She said: “A coffee. But not any kind of coffee,” and she described how she expected that coffee to be prepared. I then asked for her address, then I contacted another friend of mine, Andreea, who also lived back then in Timişoara. I gave her the description of the coffee and the address, and I asked her a crazy favor: “Would you, please, take this coffee to Iasmina, at her place, and say it was from my part?” and, ta-daaaam, she said: “yes! With pleasure”. Andreea was absolutely charmed by the idea. So she prepared the coffee with her boyfriend, Andrei, and they took it straight to Iasmina. Iasmina’s mother opened the door, and they said: “We have a coffee for Iasmina. It’s exactly like you wanted it!”. You can imagine the surprise.
They sat down, they talked, and they told the whole story. Then, a few moments later, Iasmina posted on YM the status: “incredible,” and I asked her: “How do you find the coffee? :) “. She answered: “Thank you so much! It’s exactly how I wanted it!” She went on enjoying her coffee on a memorable day, which I could have only made with the help of friends, for another friend. It’s the gift I made with the most joy that I can remember in my whole life. But it wasn’t the coffee. It was the gift of friendship.
The gift of learning
I have spent so much time learning how I thought I was supposed to. But once, in 2003, I found that there was a great Romanian professor who taught his students to read faster. It sounded intriguing to me, so I went and saw him. Unfortunately for me, the course that fall was already booked up and started. But I started participating in the professor’s other free training: creativity. So my life is divided into two parts: before I met one of my most incredible mentors, inventor pr. Eng. Radu Budei, and after. Everything in my life, in my mind, transformed after that. He taught me how to learn. How to read effectively and timely. How to concentrate. How to memorize. How to organize my learning. His gift for me and hundreds of others has been to learn how to remember and practically use whatever I learned. Using his methods, I have improved the quality of the questions I made, and it helped me to develop my creativity beyond any expectation. Thanks to him, his training, and his constant emotional support, I have attained a speed of 10.000 words/per minute. Now I am an expert in efficient learning, and I have trained others, paying forward what I have received from my mentor. Thank you, Mr. Budei!
The gift of problems
In my life until now, I have:
- been hit by a car;
- had 3 biking accidents and broken 2 bicycles;
- had food allergies;
- had eye problems. I wore glasses for 11 years;
- had general electricity breakdown where I lived (in one place, the whole electrical system had to be re-done; in another, there was actually fire from a socket);
- climbed a mountain of 2700+ m;
- walked on fire 3 times;
- failed in business;
- failed in research;
- lost all the money I made;
- been robbed several times;
- been lost in the rain and the dark, in the middle of nowhere;
- heartbroken, betrayed, dumped;
- been humiliated in public on several occasions;
- sorrowed the death of all my grandparents, two uncles, one aunt, and one close family friend;
- suffered a surgical intervention on which my life depended;
- been thrown out without proper justification; I can’t remember how many groups and institutions;
- lacked a place to stay (only for one night);
- made a fool of myself while publicly speaking;
- been humiliated on the internet;
- moved over 10 times (I lived in four cities);
- been restricting my diet for health reasons.
Thanks to God, I overcame these difficulties, which would seem uncomfortable, horrifying, or depressing for many, and I am now healthy, strong, and experienced. Even more, I do not consider them as problems but as challenges. I learned from them, and I moved on.
(keep reading ↓)
The gift of family
Both my mother and father come from large families, so I have a lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and one step-sister. Although some of these relatives are quite insane, most are very well-intentioned and can be quite affectionate to their family members, caring and helping as a family should be. Even though my parents have been divorced for almost all of my life, the great sense of a large family still exists, and it can be a great joy to meet some of them from time to time. There can certainly be a sense of security and comfort in such an environment.
The gift of laughter
Laughing is a healthy expression of joy [en, blog]. Joy is such a great emotion that it’s also a common name [en, wiki]. The ability to laugh with all the heart, to enjoy life, and to make fun of complex happenings is one of the keys to happiness and long life. Making people laugh activates a pleasure center in the brain, which neurologically positively affects health. It’s an excellent quality to make people laugh and feel good without telling them jokes. It is even more challenging, as each person finds different things amusing. So, are the people you are trying to entertain In Target? That Is the REAL Question… If so, then you can give them a wonderful present.
The gift of dreams
Oh, yes, the dreams. Vision. Inspire. Think Globally.
The gift of giving &
The gift of gratitude
One of the greatest gifts I can give to all the people who helped me is to thank them by giving others what I have learned from them. It is a manner in which I can make a difference for all interested in creating a difference in their lives and careers. Likewise, I am thankful to all those I have worked with which I learned, spent quality time, and have been inspired by. All of their gifts make a better me than I would have been otherwise. I thoroughly enjoy the gift of giving to others in such a manner that would be useful, like through the articles I publish and make available through the blogs I am writing on.
The gift of a day
Sometimes, the most beautiful gift you can find for someone is an experience to remember for a lifetime. How would it sound for you to have the possibility to experience rafting, climbing, trekking, bungee jumping, karting, flying, scuba diving, rappelling, paintball, dancing, biking, and many, many more? Just imagine the effect of such an experience on a friend! It’s great because it allows you to choose between so many activities, things to learn, and experiences that would cover any expectation.
The gift of love
For most children, their parents’ love is often the first model of love they encounter, one which would shape their conceptions and emotions on their path to developing as full-grown adults. My mother taught me love is patient, just, forgiving, persistent against all odds and difficulties, hopeful, caring, and protective. The most important way I can “pay her back” is to love as she taught me. I hope I learned well.
So, if you are looking for one special gift, choose among those I have mentioned in this article! They are the heart of any beautiful present you may think to give or receive!
May you have an inspiring giving experience!
Marcus Victor Grant
Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2012-present, all rights reserved.
The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.
2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Gift”
Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!
You are so awesome! I don’t suppose I have read through something like that before. So wonderful to find somebody with some unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!