As I write to you, we are currently in the middle of February. Love is in the air and I have been speaking a lot about love this month. However, I cannot think of a better topic to discuss during this month of love. The topic I am talking about is the topic of giving. If you have followed my work, then you know that giving is a pillar in my life. In addition, it is a pillar in my organization. After all, I started my company years ago to provide solutions to global problems. That mission and vision has resulted in massive impact around the world. So many times we think it takes a lot to change the world. However, it really starts with a tiny seed. That seed has the potentiality to blossom into an incredible harvest far greater than you can ever imagine.
- The greatest thing you can give is yourself. A lot of people do not think that they have anything to give. However, I always say that you always have something to give. You can give the gift of your time, a smile, a hug, or even a random of act of kindness to a stranger. We have to stop equating giving with quantity and start looking at quality. When I started my business over a decade ago, I did not have that many resources at the time. However, I was committed to giving whatever I could. At the time, I was sowing my time, serving on boards around the world, and working tirelessly to bring solutions to global problems. As a child, my family instilled in me the importance of giving yourself in service to humanity. That foundation produced a hunger and drive in me to sow my life as a seed and to serve the world. It may not seem significant. However, you do have something to give. When you give yourself in service, you experience a life of fulfillment and overflowing joy.
- Giving destroys the seed of selfishness. One of the reasons I believe in the power of giving is because it can be very easy to become selfish. As someone that grew up in America, I did not realize how selfish I could be until my work brought me into contact with people in some of the poorest countries in the world. We take for granted basic necessities like running water and a safe home. However, my work has brought me in contact with people that do not know where they will get their next meal, and many of them do not have a home. As I started to give of my time, energy and resources to important causes, I realized that giving is more powerful than we realize. Giving will destroy the seed of selfishness in your life. Giving causes us to realize how fortunate we really are. More importantly, giving opens our eyes to the fact that we are blessed beyond measure.
- Giving should become a way of life. Thankfully, I grew up in a family that modeled selfless giving and sacrifice before me. However, in an era where excess rules I am quite troubled by what I see in the world today. One of the ways you can guard against selfishness or covetousness is by making a decision to live a life of giving. In other words, choose to do random acts of kindness. Hold the door for someone at the local department store, donate to a charity or cause that is near to your heart, or even pay for the meal of a total stranger at a restaurant. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat down at a restaurant to eat only to discover that my meal has been paid for by a random person. It is an incredible feeling to be on the receiving end. On the other hand, nothing compares to the feeling we get when we make giving a way of life. Giving opens the heart space and makes us more grateful and more loving. I live every day with the intention to be an extravagant giver. One decision you will never regret is the decision to give your life in service to others.
- Inspire others through your giving to pay it forward. As I stated before, I have found myself on the receiving end and the giving end before. I know that many of the blessings I have received is because I have lived a life of giving. However, the only thing that thrills me more than giving is when my giving inspires others to pay it forward. For instance, when someone pays for your meal you can use that as an opportunity to pay for another persons meal. Or if someone pays for your groceries, you can pay it forward by paying for the groceries of the shopper behind you. In other words, when we pay it forward we invoke a spirit of generosity that multiplies exponentially. I am sure you have heard the expression that the world needs more love. While I am not disagreeing with that statement, I believe that the world needs more love and giving. When we love greatly and give extravagantly we create a better world. Why is that? When we are loving and giving we move from comparison and competition to collaboration and community. Through my life and work, I have discovered that collaboration and community are powerful forces for change in the world.