The Ultimate Gift

Many of my friends tell me I always make either the most original gifts or the best-personalized congratulations on different celebrations and anniversaries. So I decided that today I will share with you what I consider to be 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 the fact that it’s a little bit pathetic in its tear-jerking mission. 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 strong 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.


  1. 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 for me because I have always been a film fanatic. My job was to write a little something about each of the 6-8 movies which were running on 4 screens/cinemas: Victoria, Republica, The Students’ Culture House, and Dacia and choose one film to make a one-page review each week. The print run of the publication: 5000. The publication appeared each Friday.

After 3 weeks, I have been promoted to cultural editor – that meant 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 a great experience for me. I worked mainly independently (there were 4 people in the team), sometimes intersecting my activity with a colleague from advertising. 25 % was fieldwork: gathering information from the sources. My boss taught me, a few years before I learned it in faculty, how to use advanced formulas for finding specific information on Google. I can proudly say I 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 office for films, which allowed me to see films for free. They wanted me to push certain titles, and I wanted to choose others. I guess they didn’t feel so good when I downgraded blockbusters like “Jurassic Park 3”. In the end, nobody dared enter my field. All that 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.


  1. The gift of money

After I finished high school, my mother agreed to materially support my status as a student and she allowed me to follow multiple specializations, to subscribe to many faculties, and finally decide in my III year of faculty what fields I wanted to approach. During those years, I have made lots of mistakes, I have wasted a lot of resources, but it seems I have learned my lessons and the investments proved themselves worthwhile. Added to one another, all the faculties and training and formations I have done were more than 10.000 euros just in taxes and admissions – which is huge, for Romania, even more considering it was the first decade of the century. If my mother wouldn’t have agreed to pay all of my these, I wouldn’t have the higher education which currently allows me to make such elaborate comments that you enjoy reading from me and I wouldn’t have been able to have the clients I had, for the consulting services that I provided.

So I am who I am thanks to my mother. Thank you, mom!


  1. The gift of friends

One of the most successful gifts I have ever made was a cup of coffee. In 2006, I used to spend 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 the morale and I asked her: what would make you feel better? She said: “A coffee. But not any kind of coffee” and she described in detail how she expected that coffee to be prepared. I then asked 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, together 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. 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!” and 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.


  1. The gift of learning

I have spent so much time learning in the way I thought I was supposed to. But once, in 2003, I have found that there is a great Romanian professor who taught his students to read faster. It sounded intriguing to me, so I went and I found him. Unfortunately for me, the course that fall was already booked up and started. But I started participating in some other free training that the professor held: creativity. My life is divided into two parts: before I met one of my greatest 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 for hundreds of others has been to learn how to learn to remember and practically use whatever I learned. Using his methods, I have improved the quality of the questions I made and 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/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!


  1. 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 of 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 each of these difficulties which would seem so uncomfortable, horrifying, or depressing for many and I am now healthy, strong, experienced. Even more, I do not consider them any longer as problems, but as challenges. I learned from them and I moved on.

(keep reading ↓)

  1. The gift of family

Both my mother and father come from big families, so I have a lot of aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, and one step-sister. Although some of these relatives are quite insane, most of them are very well-intentioned, who 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 big sense of a larger family still exists and it can be great joy in meeting some of them from time to time. There can be certainly a sense of security and comfort in such an environment.


  1. The gift of laughter

Laughing is a healthy expression of joy [en, blog]. Joy is such 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 the difficult 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 a great quality to make people laugh and feel good without necessarily telling them jokes. It is, even more, a challenging task, as each person finds different things amusing. So, are the people who you are trying to entertain In the Target? That Is the REAL Question… If so, then you can make them a wonderful present.


  1. The gift of dreams

Oh, yes, the dreams. Vision. Inspire. Think Globally.


  1. The gift of giving &

  2. The gift of gratitude

One of the greatest gifts I can make to all the people who helped me is to thank them, by giving myself to others what I have learned from them. It is a manner in which I can make a difference for all those who are interested in having a difference made in their lives, in their careers. I am thankful to all those I have worked with, from which I learned, I spent quality time with, and have been inspired by. All of their gifts make a better me than I would have been otherwise. I fully 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.


  1. The gift of a day

Sometimes, the most wonderful 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, rappel, paintball, dancing, biking, and many, many more others? Just imagine the effect of such an experience on a friend! It’s great because it offers you the possibility of choosing between so many activities, things to learn and experiences, that would cover any kind of expectation.


  1. The gift of love

For most children, the love of their parents is often the first model of love they encounter, one which would shape their conceptions and their emotions on their path into developing as full-grown adults. My mother taught me love is patient, just, forgiving, persistent against all odds and difficulties, hopeful, caring, and protecting. 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 these I have mentioned in this article! They are the heart of any wonderful present you may think to give or receive!

May you have an inspiring giving experience!


Marcus Victor Grant

Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, 2012-present

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Gift

  1. 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!


  2. 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!


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