“Only the losers win; they’ve got nothing to lose.” -Switchfoot
The paradox of life is, the more you give, the more you get. You find your life by losing it. You win… by losing.
When you first start to live generously, it feels like everything is being untied. It stretches you and is uncomfortable, but it makes you realise that there is more to life than just what you can own and hold on to.
You begin to understand what true abundance is.
Generosity in my life.
When I was growing up as a teenager and in basic training at the Army Foundation college, I went on leave and I travelled into Leeds. As a junior soldier, I was earning a wage, but it was minimal, and I only had £10 to my name for the day. I had 3 friends from out of town coming up to visit me, so when I met them, I wanted to buy them all a coffee and take care of them, but was concerned about blowing all my cash. But I did grit my teeth and bought the coffees.
And now 18 years later and being involved with a charity, I am seeing meals being offered for free, the option of further education and lives being turned around positively, which is a huge joy to watch.
This is a way that I do try to live my life, and of course I am still struggling to hold on, but I am learning that the finer things in life cannot be purchased. That they can only be discovered by giving.
Why don’t we give?
We are scared of giving away what we have, we are lazy, or we believe that life is about us. As a result we often feel empty inside. Never satisfied. Always searching.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau
What is that that unsung song? The more you give your life away, the more you will find it.
What life is really about.
Hard work is important, putting in the hours is important, getting good enough exam results is important, and when you receive that reward then you can start living.
But really, let’s face it, it does feel wrong. It is an ongoing process, it always leaves an empty space waiting to be filled.
But that feeling is there to remind you that there is so much more…
“You have been living in a dream world…” -Morpheus in the Matrix
We must wake ourselves up and live life with intentionality and audacity. We must be generous, and it is not easy because it does not come naturally, but I believe that’s how we were created to live, it’s the only way, where we help each other, and that is where you will find the satisfaction you have been looking for.
Your health, business and psychology all benefit from being generous, but the most important one is that it will give your life meaning.
How to start.
Here are a few small ideas.
• Make a donation to a nonprofit.
• Just listen to someone.
• Be creative with your generosity if on a limited budget.
• Volunteer at the local soup or shelter.
• Visit a hospital or nursing home and listen to people’s stories.
• Fundraising challenge.
• Focus on the giving, not the getting.
So now go for it, get out there and be generous, I dare you. Then and only then will you find these words from Albert Einstein to be true.
“The value of a man resides on what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.”
Tell me what you receive from giving? What good have you seen from living generously?