Today is #GivingTuesday, the National Day of Giving, in wonderful contrast to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day is about giving back, which reminded me of my dear friend, regrettably no longer with us, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones is one of the most philanthropic people I know. Throughout his life, he has given lavishly of his time and money. So you can imagine my surprise when he announced to me and his other friends, ”I’ve given up on giving.”
There had to be more to the story, we knew.
He went on to explain. “Everything I have—my life, my potential, my time—was given to me. I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life returning.”
Charlie wasn’t talking about putting back into the world what he took out of it. He was talking about making the world a better place, which is what great leaders do.
Why do people give of themselves? They do so because:
- Giving teaches us to look beyond ourself. It breaks down our preoccupation with “self,” our absorption with how do “I” look, and how do others perceive me. It reminds us that we are part of a larger community, and that our navel is not the center of the universe.
- Giving teaches us to be of greater service in helping others. Giving is an art. That requires practice. After all, what is the point of having physical and emotional reserves if you don’t share them?
- Giving makes the world a better place. Capitalism can be a great force for good. Having a generous spirit is an even stronger source for good. Together they make a powerful combination.
- Giving makes us feel good. We don’t do good because we feel good. We feel good because we do good.
With all those benefits to giving, celebrating giving will not only help others in need, but enrich you and your family with the joy of service.