you can take the turnip [day 299]

A long time ago, I had a friend a that used the saying, “You can’t get blood from a turnip, but you can take the turnip.”  I never paid that much attention to it, as I really didn’t need a turnip.  Fast forward many years and here we go with the turnips again.  According to my kids, I fell off a turnip truck, however if you ask them what that means, they don’t have a clue.  I’m not sure how turnips got such a bad rap, but they seem to be associated with not-so-nice references to people.  So let’s say you take the turnip.  What will you do with it?  You could throw it in the trash, deeming it useless.  Or maybe you could cook something with it, finding a small purpose for it.

I won an iPad 2 from yesterday.  That sounds really good, right?  It is.  Did I need an iPad?  No, I didn’t, but it sure is cool to have won an iPad.  The contest they were running was to see who could get the most new friends on their sharing site in a weekend.  I decided to try and win this, not only for the iPad, but because of the greater good of what they’re doing.  Here’s their mission statement:

It’s simple. Share the things you have with those around you. Nothing new, in fact, it’s something we have all engaged in at one time or another. And yet, we haven’t even touched the potential of this basic but most necessary act. Imagine a community of people like the early church, mentioned above, who made available every item which they had in their possession, who valued their neighbors as they valued themselves. Imagine being able to access tens and hundreds of times more stuff than you yourself have in your home. Imagine, before deciding to purchase an item, the ability to borrow it and try it out for yourself? In short, what if this community mentioned in the book of Acts was made manifest today, 2,000 years later? At Acts of Sharing, we’ve been imagining the implications, and we’re incredibly excited. Sharing is nothing original, but we think it’s revolutionary. And it will change everything.

I decided to take the good a step further.  If I won this, I told my friends I would share it on AOS.  (yes, it will be listed the minute I receive it)  Okay, one more step, I also told them I would donate $500 to The Samaritan Inn, our local homeless shelter.  So let’s look at the big picture of what happened here.

  • 55 of my friends are now sharing their stuff.  Not everyone will use this site, but several of my friends are already sharing their things.
  • Those 55 friends have more friends they can share with.  This will grow the sharing community.
  • My friends and I now have an iPad to share.
  • The Samaritan Inn received a nice donation and the homeless community was helped in the process.
  • A friend of mine decided to do a similar deal with her friends, and  as she said, she shamelessly stole my plan.  I wish everyone would steal plans like this!  That encouraged me to be more competitive.  [insert evil laugh]
  • I’ve now multiplied my accessibility to stuff without buying anything new and I’ve done the same for my friends. 

There’s some interesting things about turnips.  Let me start by saying they’re not the sexiest looking vegetable.  My son’s analogy, “Turnips look like fat, mutated carrots.”  And what about the taste?  Most people don’t crave turnips, as a matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I ate one.  It’s not on my list of things I love to eat.  Turnips are one of those ‘background’ kinds of vegetables.  Soul food in the south, a garnish in Japan and a source of fodder for feeding livestock.  The really great thing about turnips is that they’ll grow in pretty much any soil type, they can be left in the ground harvest after harvest, making them a famine prevention vegetable.

    One of the things I talk about frequently is how sharing our material belongings can do many great things in our lives.  Many people have an initial reaction of, “Why should I do that?” or “I really don’t have anything to share and I’m not sharing my electronics with anyone.”  Some absolutely love it.  Others like it, but say it takes too much time.  I invited over 600 people to join me in sharing.

    I know at this point you’re probably trying to figure out what my point is and why I’m talking about iPads, sharing, turnips and a contest.  It’s taking something good and making it better.  Turnips are good, even though they have a bad reputation.  They are a good source of vitamins, they’re easy to grow and they can help increase food supply in impoverished areas.  Sharing is good, but not popular or trendy.  Sharing will save you money, give you access to more things while owning less and it builds community.  So you didn’t get blood from the turnip, but you took it.  You didn’t throw it away and maybe you decided not to cook with it right now.  Again, it’s not the coolest thing to have, but you can do more good with it.  You could plant it and make more turnips.  You could get creative and cook a new recipe with it.  You could make a turnip lantern like they do in Scotland.  You could make a remedy to cure a fever like they do in Iran.  The idea is to be creative.  On the surface, getting a turnip is not a great thing, but creatively thinking of ways to use it for good will could prevent waste and possibly help someone in need.  How about combining the turnip with some other vegetables to make it into something really great and tasty?

    What if we looked at everything like a turnip?  I looked at the contest like a turnip.  What can I do with this or what other good things can I combine with it to create more goodness?  I was going to make a donation to The Samaritan Inn, but I made that an incentive and I upped the amount I was planning to give.  I want to share with my friends and see them prosper from this great plan.  I don’t need a new iPad, so why not share one with my friends if I could win one?  I decided to combine all of these things to create combined good and I won an iPad.  I could have just given some money to the homeless shelter, waited for my friends to find the sharing site and never tell anyone how cool sharing could be.

    Now what will you do with your turnip?

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