The Amazing Gift of Giving

“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.”

~ Chinese Proverb

In today’s external economy, the exchanging of money and material gifts is simple. Give and hope to get something in return. Simple mathematics – your wallet gets lighter as you give.

But the economy of the heart is different; it is the exact opposite. The more you give, the more you have. This can’t be doubted; you’ve likely experienced it for yourself. The smallest example is enough: when you play with a small child, and you laugh, and you give – you must have felt the love within grow stronger.

Your inner world reflects the outer.

Giving is a practical expression of love toward humanity. This definition makes clear two central challenges faced by each of us as givers: the challenge to be generous, and the challenge in giving that promotes the common good.

Giving can include offering your time, your effort, your thanks, yourself, your interest, and if you choose, your money. It’s up to you. Giving provides you with purpose in your life and we all need that. Right? Knowing that others benefit from your giving is a great feeling, one that promotes happiness and fulfillment.

Thoughtful giving also changes lives, builds communities and solves problems. However, donating to charities and good intentions do not. Case in point: consider ongoing social investors who are changing the face of higher education, bringing humanitarian aid more quickly to victims of natural disasters, and alleviating the burdens of urban poverty. Their giving has a specific goal.

People who are giving and evolving in order to live productively in today’s world can and do create extraordinary results. When aligned with purposeful giving, they have crystal clarity of knowing what they are giving and for whom.

So, how do you create this giving shift? Here are a few simple steps:

  1. Start with a goal that engages your passions and leverages your own experiences;
  2. Create a plan to achieve that goal;
  3. Thoughtfully measure progress, even if the metrics are imperfect;
  4. Learn from your successes, feelings and missteps and;
  5. Be willing to change your giving based on that learning.

We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the heart: Love, kindness, joy, understanding, sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness.

We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the mind: Ideas, dreams, purposes, principles, plans, poetry.

We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the spirit: Vision, beauty, aspiration, peace, faith.

We give of ourselves when we give gifts of words: Encouragement, inspiration, guidance, hope.

Open your eyes and your heart – to the joy in giving. In gratitude, deepen your appreciation for what you already have. Hold an abundant mindset then, give freely.

What could be more rewarding? If there is something, share it with us!

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