How giving a little can gain a lot
In this week’s piece from JOE’s Life Coach John McNamara, he explains how making a real contribution to society, without expecting anything in return, can have far-reaching benefits.
So tell me this… what do Bill Gates, Sir Terry Wogan, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney all have in common???
Yeah, they’re successful, rich and famous, but there are thousands of people in the world who fit that bill. No, what I’m getting at is that they’re some of the greatest activists and philanthropists on the planet. Despite all the acclaim, wealth and significance they have achieved the real secret to living – yes, it’s to be found in the giving.
The contribution they make on an individual level, whether it be in the shape of their time, money and influence to the betterment of society, are massively commendable and truly what make them happiest. Sir Terry Wogan recently told me that if he was to be remembered for one single thing in his life, it would be for the £500 million raised for the Children in Need charity since its inception in a hotel lobby in 1980.
One of the keys to personal satisfaction and inner content in life is to be found in giving selflessly to others. It is giving, without expecting anything in return. It really is that simple, and it is why the aforementioned individuals have turned to the route of philanthropy and contribution when they have achieved all there is to be achieved in their fields.
I can tell you from my own personal experience that the feeling and warmth you get internally from giving your time, energy, money or love to others when you expect nothing in return will outweigh any other tangible possessions you may receive in return for deeds done with the underlying agenda of benefitting yourself. Due to increased cutbacks and budgetary restrictions voluntary organisations and charities are literally crying out for people to lend their time and energy to assist them in their plight. In your own town or city there is an abundance of opportunities to get involved and make a contribution.
Now it is important that I establish here that I am not asking you all to drop everything and take off to the streets of Calcutta devoting your life to the plight of the less fortunate. If you do, I’m sure the world will be a better place for it. This is the reason, or sorry the excuse, that many use for not lending their weight to projects which could badly do with their input. It does not have to be an all-consuming devotion. What I strongly suggest is that if everyone pitched in with a few hours a month, a few euros a week, a well placed phone call or visit to an elderly neighbour or family member or as simple as a bright smile to a disconsolate-looking stranger then our environments, families and communities will be much the better for it.
You don’t need wads of cash or to hold a position of significance globally to be able to make a positive influence in other people’s lives. Rosa Parks had none of the above when she decided she would not give up her seat. Mother Teresa hadn’t got it when she decided to help the helpless in Calcutta. The students in Tiananmen Square didn’t either. You have no idea the impact simple acts of kindness, giving and courage can have in yours and other people’s lives.
Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things … I am tempted to think… there ARE no little things
- Bruce Barton
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS (RAKs)
Some of you may heard of this concept before, and some may even practice it. I would strongly urge everyone to include at least one in every week and one in every day if at all possible. These involve, as the title suggests, random acts of giving or good nature to people you know or, even better, to complete strangers.
Try this… it can make you laugh too as people are not generally used to randomers doing nice things for them. They will appreciate it far more than you will ever know and the ripple effect may be huge. So gives me a few examples, I hear the lazy among you say, as you refuse to turn your brain on so early in the week. Bring a coffee or pastry to the lady at reception in your office, bring a homeless person to the nearest café and buy them a warm lunch. Will they appreciate that as the cold winter rolls in? Hell yeah, they will.
Ring one of your family and tell them how much you love them, smile at that person you walk past every day. Make a larger than normal donation at your local church or simply tell someone how well they’re looking or how much you enjoy meeting them. The list and opportunities are boundless. It will be fun, of that much I can assure you. The more random the act the greater the response you will get and the wider-reaching the effects will be felt. Be prepared for the odd person to be a little sceptical as such generosity – selflessness, unfortunately, has faded in modern day society.
You can’t have a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you
- Coach John Wooden
The boom years in Ireland and across a lot of the western world over the last 15 years has led to a lot of people becoming egocentric and focusing all their energies inwards. Their main concern was themselves, their image and their bank accounts. Now that the lights have been turned off at the party, this in itself has led to massive issues with self-esteem and confidence for many. By committing to making a contribution to your community, sports organisation, school or family the focus begins to shift outwardly and you will feel a greater balance in your life.
Continue with your own personal pursuits, goals and dreams but be sure to incorporate some gestures and actions into your life which are for the greater good of all that is around you. You will be amazed at the bonds you will make, the new friendships that will unfold, the opportunities that will come your way and the overall feeling of contentment you will achieve in your life. It really is all about balance.
‘Til next week…
For more information on this article or to book a FREE consultation simply call or email John today at +353 86 3919952 or [email protected]. You can also visit his website, or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook.