The More Than The Minimum Principle

So I had this moment when I was clearing off the driveway at 4:30 AM for my wife to leave for work.  I had just cleared everything off, AGAIN.  This would be the third time in about the last 12 hours that I shoveled, when as I began to admire my handiwork, I noticed a stretch of about 50 feet of sidewalk in our vacated neighbor’s house to the left, that had about a foot of snow covering it.

Now mind you, according to our home owner’s association bylaws, I’m only responsible for my stretch of sidewalk.  That is the bare minimum that I must do.  However, as I looked on down the street, I imagined someone walking through our neighborhood, that would have a clear path everywhere, except for that little stretch of about 50 feet or so.  Clearly, we don’t have a lot of walking traffic these days, but there is a chance that someone might need that path cleared.

This is when I discovered the “more than the minimum” principle.  Here’s the great thing about the more than the minimum principle: it generally benefits someone other than you!

As long as I do the minimum amount of shoveling in my neighborhood, my family will be the beneficiary.  As in, we won’t get dirty looks from our neighbors, our cars won’t get stuck (again), we’ll be able to avoid being fined by the city or our HOA.  Yet, when I do more than the minimum, someone else might be the beneficiary!   More than likely someone that I will never know.  Someone that won’t know where to send a dozen roses because they are overwhelmed with gratitude because I did more than the minimum.  Someone whose feet will remain dry because I took an extra 3 minutes and did more than I was required to do.

  • What if we consistently lived our lives by the more than the minimum principle?
  • What if we were constantly looking for ways to make other people’s lives easier?
  • What can you do within the next 24 hours to do more than the minimum?

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