“Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.” Jim Rohn
The simple reframe of replacing, “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” will not only lead to greater well-being, but it will make us all better leaders, partners, and contributors in all aspects of life.
Research has shown that there are tremendous benefits to our well-being directly from the act of giving.
Psychologist Allen McConnell quotes the work of social psychologist Liz Dunn showing that people's sense of happiness is more significant when they spend relatively more on others than on themselves.
In one survey of over 600 U.S. citizens, Dunn and colleagues found that spending money on others predicted greater happiness whereas spending money on oneself did not, and this pattern is observed across all income levels.
In other words, even those with little money reported greater happiness when their proportion of spending on others, relative to the self, was higher.
In other studies, students at the University of British Columbia were given an envelope containing money. They told them that they either (1) had to spend the money on themselves before 5 p.m. that day or (2) had to spend the money on someone else before 5 p.m.
Guess what happened?
Those who gifted for others were happier than those who gifted for themselves.
In some cases, there were 5 dollars in the envelope and other cases there were 20 dollars. The amount didn't matter -- the results were the same.
Spending on others made people happier than spending on oneself.
Of course, we can give in so many ways that don’t involve money.
-Give a smile.
-Help someone cross the road.
-Cook a meal for someone.
-Be a great listener.
-Give someone your time.
-Pick up someone's tab.
The list is endless...
Can you think of other ways to give? I’d love to hear.
“Life is a boomerang. What you give, you get.” Anonymous