I often find myself impressed by the passion and dedication of younger generations. You are the “We Generation.” We were the “Me Generation.” You want to share, you want your lives to have a purpose. You care, you believe in relationships, generosity, and other people. You want to do good. My generation was too selfish: the heroes in our movies were killers and tough guys; greed was our god. We calculated our values in dollars.
I see you when I give speeches. You raise your hands, taking pictures with your phones of the screen behind me, where the words that have become our slogan are emblazoned: Purpose is the new currency.
Purpose works invisibly. Neither intelligence nor feeling drives it. It exists beyond thought; it is what you are. Caring for your loved ones and for people you don’t even know. Caring about the planet that we have left to you in such a terrible state. Caring as a kind of second nature, your true nature.
You do not think in terms of helping: words such as “paternalist” and “colonialist” have no place in your vocabulary. You prefer simply to share, and rightly so. You do not give, you form partnerships. You do not perform acts of charity, you stand beside others in order to move forward with them.
You have deconstructed our social organization. At first, we saw it as a joke. Then the world you imagined drew us in. Nowadays, when employers’ organizations and investment banks ask me to tell them about sharing, about social causes, I know that you have won. I feel confident that once the older generations leave our little comfort zone and join you in the search for solutions, we will not slip back into the old ways.
Thanks to you, the dollar and the euro have lost their crown. Purpose is the new currency.
You can wield the power of the consumer, of the citizen, of the worker. Use it wisely. Show them that from now on, your consumption has value. Take a stance as a tax payer. Call out your bosses to demand social investment. Unsubscribe. Walk away. Delete the app. Agitation will arise in the C-suite with the
click of a mouse or the tap of a screen.
You have the power to choose how to spend your time. Work for companies that embrace sharing. If you are an entrepreneur, take the leap and implement a giving program. When looking for a job, ask about corporate responsibility. They may give you a boilerplate answer. Then ask again and scratch the surface.
You have the power to give. Find the impactful organizations that you want to support. Engage with them. Embrace giving as a practical habit in your life. Love it. Rejoice in it. A little bit of it will change you from within. Sharing as a lifestyle will make you happy—and more, it will make you whole.
Excerpted from GIVING: Purpose Is the New Currency by Alexandre Mars.
Reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2019
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