15 Minutes

Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


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To Serve Man (Not a Cookbook)

ImageHow can we cultivate a culture of giving? A culture of serving? I’ll let you know up front that I don’t have any definitive answers, so hopefully this will spark a two-way conversation. Think of this post as a public brainstorming session.

The secret of successful leadership is a willingness to serve.
The secret of a successful marriage is to try to out-serve your spouse.
The secret of a successful company is exceptional service.
The secret of a successful tennis player is a great serve.

Actually, I guess none of those things are really secrets. They are commonly taught at marriage seminars, leaderships seminars, sales seminars and tennis camp. I would also contend that any society or group or nation would be improved if everyone was taught to give and serve more often.

So how does one create a culture of serving? Giving and serving not just our spouses and customers, but to everyone that we see on a daily basis?

Let me formulate one obstruction and consider if you agree. Our society is based on the idea of reciprocity, fairness, equivocation. It’s how our commerce works and somehow that idea has bled into our notion of how interpersonal relationships are also supposed to work. Which is why we will easily perform a kindness or favor for a friend, relative our co-worker, but might be hesitant to do the same for a stranger. After all, if you never see that person again, when will they ever be able to do you a favor back?

Do you agree with that summation? (Take a moment)

I think there are some people that think that way, but I think it is actually a minority. I think most of us don’t mind doing a small favor for a stranger. After all we’re good people. I think the real hindrance in these random acts of kindness is on the part of the receiver. After all, if someone we don’t know and don’t plan to ever see again does us a favor, how will we be able to repay them? We find ourselves at a deficit, we’ve been out-served, we have red in our ledger. So because of this, when that stranger offers us a helping hand, we too often say, “no, thank you.”

I think the greater hindrance to creating a society of givers lies more in our reluctance to take than to give.

Do you agree with THAT summation?

Like I said, I don’t have any definitive answers in this post.

ImageSome friends of mine are in the process of launching a non-profit organization. Our mission is to spread the spirit of Aloha, which I define as the spirit of giving, sharing, and serving. (Sidebar: It’s vital to define Aloha whenever you use it in a sentence since Aloha has about seventy definitions including “hello” and “goodbye.” The spirit of Aloha could easily mean slamming a door in someone’s face. End sidebar).

It’ll probably be a few months before we’re ready to launch the website and start with the promotions and such; and I will no doubt inundate you with more information than you could possibly want at that time.

In the meantime, if anyone has any definitive answers, brilliant ideas or amazing epiphanies about the question “how do you create a culture of giving and serving?” I would love to hear them. Heck, I’ll even take a subdued notion.

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Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

ImageGenerosity is viewed as altruistic. It is one of those qualities in a person that is almost always universally admired. Even those corporate bigwigs that the masses love pointing fingers at for causing all the problems in the world; it’s hard to stay angry at them when they build a hospital from scratch or give their cab driver a fifty. Generosity creates goodwill.

Generosity is also healthy for the soul. English statesman Winston Churchill said “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” Countryless everyman Anonymous said “Remember when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given.”

Generosity is just as rewarding for the giver as it is for the receiver.

Now consider a universal law called the Law of Reciprocity. This law states that whatever you give out you get back. If you’re a jerk, no matter how well you think you hide it, people treat you like you’re a jerk. Which in turn causes you to say, “That person is a jerk!” which perpetuates a jerk vortex that is centered around you. Jerk.

If you smile a great deal, more people smile back at you. If you spend time with your children they will want to spend time with you.

Simple, right?

Now pretend I used some kind of smooth transition to bind these two ideas together.

  • If what you give out is what you get back, and
  • If generosity is equally rewarding to the giver and to the receiver, then
  • If you are struggling financially give more money away. (This is not an April Fool’s joke)

I advise everyone to give away 10% of their income to charity.

“But I earn so little!” Great, you’ll have to give less.

“But I don’t have an extra 10% to give away!” Give it away first, then figure out how to live off the rest.

“But I’m in debt!” That was dumb. I might let you off the hook and allow you to give 10% of your net, but then you are saying that the bank is a more important priority to you than that charity. Which makes you kind of evil, right?

Giving away money is good for society. No matter how poor you think you are, there is always somebody that is poorer. Even people living in poverty in this country have paved driveways, a car, iPhones, cable television and internet. The “poor” in the U.S. are richer than 50% of the people in the world.

Giving money away is good for you as an individual. It’s therapeutic. Give to a cause or a group that you believe in and feel good about giving.

Giving away money will assist you financially. It’s the law of reciprocity in effect. The sooner you give, the sooner the universe will reward you back.

If you don’t buy into that new-age-karma-speak, then try this reason:

Psychologically, giving money away helps you to get out of a scarcity mentality. If you constantly feel like you need every single penny that your boss reluctantly hands over to you, you become enslaved to that pattern of thinking. You need this job, this job is all-important, you must do whatever you can to hold on to this job. Sadly, those people will take a 10% cut in salary during the next economic downturn and say how lucky they are that they even kept their job.

Giving money away helps you to have an abundance mentality.

If you are struggling financially, try giving some money to charity. Hey, since you’re already struggling, you’re obviously not doing anything great with it, so you may as well let someone else have a shot with it.