You Receive More When You Give. As we approach this festive season; I am reminded of the importance of reaching out and sharing the beauties of life especially to people who sometimes find themselves in position of difficulty. Antony Robbins once said, “ life is a gift and it offers us privilege, opportunity and responsibility to give something back by becoming more”. As I grew up my grandmother used to sing a very special song, one that has stayed with me through the years. She used to say “ Kupa unemufaro, kunokunda kugamuchira, That’s Shona meaning giving with joy and satisfaction is far greater than receiving. I have leant by giving we not only bless the person receiving our gift but we bless ourselves through joy and satisfaction. “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
The subject of giving is worth considering on a business, social and leadership level because when we give be it our time, knowledge, talents, encouragement, compliments, money or wisdom we invest in the people who are receiving these gifts. Take for instance, once every week I volunteer for a local charity, spend a few hours supporting and offering information to the men and women who keep our country safe. That act alone enriches my life, as I’m able to appreciate the fact that the freedom we enjoy today comes at a price but I am able to serve those who selflessly serve. A fashion designer entrepreneur can give their product to a local charity so their work can be auctioned and financial resources raised for that charity. Despite the basic human connection of helping the charity raise much needed funds, this entrepreneur also has the ultimate satisfaction of knowing they are making a real difference to the fabric of their community while gaining some good brand visibility.
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” Henry James
It feels good to give. Sure, giving back should be an altruistic, selfless notion, but the truth is that giving back is good for both the giver and the recipient. Studies even prove that there are amazing benefits to giving, whether you are taking on a regular volunteer position, donating money, or simply doing a random act of kindness. Whether one is fighting an addiction or dealing with a debilitating disease, people connect more with someone who has been through similar situations. In one study in America, people with multiple sclerosis were trained to provide support over the telephone for 15 minutes a month to a fellow person with multiple sclerosis. The helpers proved to be more self-confident, had better self-esteem, and displayed less depression. In a similar study, people with chronic pain who counselled those with similar conditions experienced a drop in their own symptoms of pain and depression.
Practical Reasons why you should GIVE
1. Giving teaches us to look beyond ourselves. It breaks down our preoccupation with “self”. It reminds us that we are part of a larger community and that our navel is not the centre of the universe. Think about it, the world is made of more than 7 billion people, most with much bigger challenges and in great need of a helping hand. As I have started giving my time and efforts to various causes I’ve found personal satisfaction and appreciation that what I consider to be my problems are not worth complaining about.
2. Giving teaches us to be of greater service in helping others. Giving is an art. That requires practice. What is the point of having physical and emotional reserves if you don’t share them? I believe that when I’m gone people might forget the things I did for myself and the achievements I made for myself however most will remember how I made them feel, the impact I had on their lives and the gifts I managed to sow into their livelihoods. Someone once said, “Your gifts and talents are God’s gift to you and how you use them is your gift to God”.
3. Giving makes us feel good. We don’t do good because we feel good. We feel good because we do good. People who want to make a positive difference in the world around them often wish to give of their time, expertise, money and/or skills. Serving in any way is admirable and it is important that we are willing to do so. But when we have unique skills and passions, we can have an even greater impact if we look at the ways we contribute that will do the most good. When you make the world better for others, you make the world better for yourself.
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” People who give to others are not just showing them that they matter. They are showing that action matters; that taking a stance matters. Doing what you can matters.
Givers might have more meaningful lives, but are not necessarily happier or more energized. People who give are often misunderstood as pushovers; takers often track their scent and use it to their advantage, especially when they are skilfully disguised as givers. Be conscious about where your giving energy is dispensed. You will truly be giving when you are focused on making a difference. Success, then, will come as a by-product.
Don’t give yourself to everyone, and sow acts of selflessness and kindness to issues that are truly in need. Success is not the measure of a person, but effort is. Ladies and gentlemen consider what talents you have and how you can make an impact by critically giving and sharing them, reaching out so we can make this world a better place. We are the change we want to see.