Why Giving Back Should Be Front And Center:
It’s That Important And There’s Something In It For YOU
Have you ever thought about volunteering in your community? How about giving a hand at a local charitable event? Have you ever considered sponsoring a child in need?
When thinking about charity, you may think about participating in occasional events for the purpose of helping others and…
Well…. guess what?
It turns out that charitable acts help the giver as much as the recipient and therefore should be more than occasional. Giving isn’t just, or even, about writing a check, it’s about investing yourself. Whether you’re giving money to some charity or taking time to console a friend or mentor a colleague, the act of giving is fundamental to a sense of connection, well-being and yes, even happiness.
Giving helps us define who we are for others and for ourselves.
We all want more in life, right? Giving, ironically, means getting more in return.
Here are 18 great reasons (with hidden benefits) why giving should not just be an afterthought but a central part of your life.
1) Life Is Not All About You...
As soon as you reach out to help others in need, your perspective changes. Now it’s not about you, it’s about them and in considering another person you are stepping outside of the boundaries of your own ego. Seeing and appreciating different perspectives is critical if you are going to develop into a well-rounded, likable and understanding person.
2) The Things That Stress You Out... Aren't Really That Big Of A Deal
Having a stressful day because your computer is down or you are in conflict with one of your co-workers?
Someone has it way more difficult than YOU.
How about going to visit children on a cancer ward or helping a disabled veteran? It’s one thing to know other people’s suffering but it’s quite another to see it and jump in and try to make it better.
When you get involved, you are engaged, have a meaningful and emotional connection to another person and can relate to his or her difficulties. That will often make your issues pale by comparison. At the very least it will help you realize that everyone is struggling with something, often lots of things.
Volunteer, mentoring, or coaching youth sports for example, not only helps others, but will help you realize just how good you have it.
3) Down In The Dumps? Need A Pick Me Up? Try Giving Back More Often... Really
Giving will lift your mood to the moon!
If you are feeling down, there may be no better pick-me-up than making a real connection with someone else. Especially someone else that is in need. I have a friend and whenever he is feeling down he makes a charitable donation or commits an act of service. Being of service is actually an upper — with no ill side effects:)
4) It's Fun To Put Smiles On Faces And...
Not only does giving put smiles on other people’s faces it will put a smile on YOUR face too (hidden benefit).
We all want to be valued and appreciated right?
What better way of communicating that someone is important to you than investing your time and effort in helping them. Reach out to them and watch them smile — inwardly as well as outwardly.
5) Personal Development Doesn't Just Happen For You At A Live Event Or…
Giving provides personal development opportunities. If you want to grow you have to do some things you haven’t done before.
It’s one thing to know what to do, and be all rah rah about it…
However… it’s another thing to actually make it happen.
You may have an idea of what compassion, service and giving look like, but until you have actually put those qualities into practice you haven’t given.
Charitable giving and service allow you to not only walk the walk but to develop personally in ways you could have never thought possible.
6) Learn New Skills And Acquire Knowledge From Giving?
Absolutely! When you step outside the bounds of your own ego you might also step outside the bounds of your own skill-set. For example, if you volunteer for Habitat for Humanity you might learn some construction skills. If you volunteer for Heroes on Horseback you might learn a lot about horses and mental and physical rehabilitation.
You never know when you may need these new founds skills.
7) Teach Others What You Know - Many Hidden Benefits
Ever wanted to be a public speaker? Ever wanted to train others in a corporate setting? Ever wanted to give a presentation in a board room?
You now can practice.
By teaching others what you know, you not only are doing good deeds… you are honing your skills to captivate an audience in your future.
Hint: Don’t forget to work on making it fun, engaging, and memorable.
8) Exercise Your Compassion Muscle - Yes YOU Have One
Just like pretty much every other feeling and behavior, compassion has its roots in critical brain pathways. Those connections literally will erode over time if they are not exercised. As with any other cognitive task, for example memory, you use it or lose it.
9) Social Connections Anyone? From Giving?
Giving is great networking. The social connections you make from your charitable giving and service are likely to bring you into contact with other like-minded individuals, who could be just what you are looking for in different areas of your life.
And that’s not all…
Some of the wealthiest people are also the biggest givers. You never know who you may end up connecting with.
And another thing…
You may find your next business partner or love connection.
10) Branding Anyone? From Giving Back
Being seen as a giving person may just be the most important part of your branding, even beyond your specific expertise. Volunteering and service activities are highly valued in today’s society. Someone who has a great service and volunteer record is likely to be perceived as a great team player, “go getter” and even a leader.
But wait…there’s more…
For entrepreneurs, giving can be an opportunity to align your brand with a cause that has world wide reach.
11) Bring Your Family, Friends And Associates Together In Ways you Never Knew…
You don’t have to do this stuff alone.
Volunteering and acts of service can not only bring your friends, family, and associates together, it can help create a culture of caring.
In fact, when you run a race, build a home, or volunteer at an assisted living center, with people you are close to, the bond you have grows even closer.
12) Inspiring Others Is Magical
Inspiring others to follow their dreams is unbelievably satisfying. You could actually be a game changer! You might inspire someone to follow their own dreams in ways they never thought possible. Be passionate because passion is infectious and it can engage others, especially others in need, in remarkable ways.
13) This Stuff Is Physically Healing... Really
Helping others not only feels good, it is actually healthy for both the giver and the recipient. Chemicals like oxytocin, the chemical of social connection, has anti-inflammatory properties as well as being associated with a sense of calm and peace.
Feeling valuable and purposeful is associated with a positive mental state that is correlated with physical well-being. Dean Ornish, a famous cardiologist, says that the most critical part of healing from heart disease is love in its broadest sense.
Support and nurturing have been found to be critical in other studies on diseases like cancer. In one study by Dr. David Spiegel and his colleagues at Stanford University, women with breast cancer who were in a weekly support group had a significantly longer survival rate than women who weren’t. It is likely that the women got as much benefit from giving support as they did in receiving it.
14) Build Your Relationships Stronger
One of the regrets that many people have towards the end of their lives is that they didn’t invest more in their relationships. It’s easy in the course of busy and overloaded schedules to neglect our family and friends. Those critical relationships need to be nurtured and depend on and indeed are characterized by, nurturing and the free giving of our time, resources and ourselves.
Hint: Give back with someone or for someone you want to spend more time with, see #10
15) You Are Wired To Give Back... Literally
YOU and I are programmed to connect with others.
We have specific circuits in our brain, the so-called ‘mirror neurons,’ that allow us to feel compassion and empathy and we have them because social connection helps us individually and collectively.
16) Your Brain Gets Healthy Too When You Give Back
Lack of such social activity is a risk factor for developing cognitive decline and even dementia.
You don’t want that do you?
The more isolated people are, the higher their health risks are. Service is a social activity that involves many cognitive functions which is why retirees are often encouraged to volunteer. It’s not just that it is a productive use of their time but it is also an activity that exercises different parts of the brain.
17) Follow Your Passion And Help People Along The Way
Maybe YOU aren’t living your dream life… yet. Maybe YOU have passions that you would like to pursue. Well… giving back or volunteering in an area that YOU are passionate about could be a great life hack for you. You not only get to follow your passion, but help people along the way too!
18) Give Enough People What They Want And You Will Get What You Want
Giving is reciprocal – what goes around comes around!
Reciprocity is a fundamental law of social interaction. When you help others they want to help you. They might not be able to reciprocate to the same level as you but they will want to show their appreciation in some way.
I am a huge believer that when YOU help enough people to get what they want, YOU will get what you want.
It’s no secret…
There are so many ways to indulge the amazing gift of giving. Some people make a commitment to a cause they believe in, like water supply for people in less developed countries or cancer research. Some people sponsor children, causes and events.
But giving is not just an act of generosity, it is also a mindset. It’s a mindset that makes reaching out to friends and helping people in need a natural habit. And when you give, you got a whole lot more back!
Comment Below and Share Often
To Giving More And Getting More Of What You Want In Life,
P.S. – Leave your thoughts, questions and tell me your experiences with giving back. I will respond to all comments:)
P.P.S – Use the convenient SHARE BUTTONS on this page to share this post with people you care about.