There is no exercise better for your heart and mind than reaching down and lifting people up.
Generosity makes our world happier and healthier. Every act of giving directly improves the lives of both the receiver and the giver. Yet, despite the incredible benefits, generosity is still far too rare in our world today.
Instead, our society craves and pursues more at every turn – more money, more possessions, more power, and so forth. We seek enjoyment by directing the majority of our energy and resources toward our own pursuits: possessions, accumulation, comfort, and luxury. Meanwhile, incredible opportunities for generosity surround us in every moment of every day.
We have to stop missing these opportunities!
In order to reorient our thinking in a consumer-driven world and begin taking greater advantage of the abundant benefits of generosity, we need to shift our mindset and our worldview.
Consider these nine life-changing ways generous people view the world, and how these realizations can spark more generosity in your life too:
1. They know there are enough resources to give back and share.
The mindset of competition and hoarding—that my resources only grow when someone else’s shrinks—is based on a faulty premise. It assumes there is a finite sized pool and if someone else enjoys success, my opportunity shrinks. But quite honestly, this thinking is nonsense. The pool of physical, emotional, and financial resources in the world is not finite. It continues to grow as society benefits from others’ success.
2. They see their daily generosity lead to greater happiness and fulfillment.
Studies confirm what generous people have learned and experienced firsthand: Giving increases happiness, pleasure and purpose in the life of the giver. As social creatures, we were not designed to be beings of greed and selfishness. Instead, we were designed to seek and discover happiness in loving and caring for other people. And those of us who decide to look for fulfillment in giving, quickly discover plenty of it.
3. They find great success in helping others succeed greatly.
The easiest path to finding success in our lives is to help someone else find success first. After all, our contribution to this world must be measured by something more significant than the size of our ego and the pile of possessions we’ve amassed. Our lives develop their greatest significance based on how we choose to live daily—and how well we enable others to live in the process.
4. They believe in changing the world, one person at a time.
Generous people are honest and quick to admit that all world’s problems cannot be solved by one person—and perhaps, never perfectly solved by any number of people. But the lack of perfection does not slow them down. To them, changing even one life within their circle of influence is a success, and a worthwhile endeavor to be pursued.
5. They trust people.
Generosity always requires some level of trust. To invest time, money and other resources into another human being, we must believe, on some level, that they will take what we give and use it wisely. Generous people are trusting and hopeful. And trusting, hopeful people are happy people because they choose to live in a world where a positive belief in others is liberally employed and frequently realized.
6. They have bigger dreams for their money.
Our financial wealth is only as valuable as what we choose to spend it on. Generous people use their wealth to put smiles on other people’s faces and bring big dreams into reality. When managed properly, our money can be used to improve the quality of life for the people around us. It can be used to make our communities safer, more educated, and more responsible. Indeed, generous people dream bigger dreams for their money… and I challenge you to dream bigger too.
7. They are willing to give more than their money.
We have so much more to offer this world than just money alone. For example, we have time, talents, experiences, and life lessons learned. When we give people things beyond our money and begin to invest our lives into the betterment of others, magic happens. Of course, this step can be more difficult than just tossing some change into a collection bin. But oftentimes, it is more desperately needed.
8. They live every day with conscious awareness of the fact that life is short.
We only get one shot at this life. We all know it, but we fail to live accordingly. Our actions don’t backup our intention to make our one shot at life count. Those who fully embrace this reality, however, learn to pack lots of extra life into every one of their fleeting years. They recognize we have but a short time to leave our imprint on this world. And they cheerfully give what they have to accomplish it.
9. They are happy to live a simpler, more meaningful life with less.
By definition, true generosity requires some level of inner happiness that’s detached from outer possessions. It recognizes the reality that giving our personal resources to another person means we have less for ourselves. In this way, inner happiness forms the foundation for generosity. But in response, surprisingly enough, generosity also becomes the fuel for greater contentment and meaning.
Our world is desperately seeking joyful and generous givers. They improve the reality of our society as we know it. They push us forward. They motivate us to follow in their footsteps. And their view of the world is one I desire to further grow in my own life.