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What You Can Learn by Giving

by | Philanthropy

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Some of the most important lessons you’ll learn in life will come from donating your time, products, services, or money to others. Being able to give to others is truly what makes life meaningful. 

It’s human nature to worry about ourselves. In fact, in Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People , he says that when we’re not thinking about some definite problem, we usually spend about 95% of our time thinking about ourselves. Imagine what would happen if we made the conscious decision to devote even a fraction of that time to thinking about other people. 

The amount of good that comes from adopting a giver mentality and putting others before yourself might surprise you. Here are just a few of the lessons you might learn along the way. 

Lesson #1: Working hard is about more than making money. 

We live in a world that’s obsessed with money—how much we have, how much we lose, and how much we make. For the most part, this is normal … living isn’t free (it’s actually pretty expensive). However, being a giver will teach you that while working hard for a monetary reward is important, there are times when the work will be more rewarding when it’s done for the benefit of someone else.  

The genuine appreciation of people who may not be able to repay you for what you’ve done for them is worth more than any dollar amount. Living life with a passion for others and for creating a better world will help you feel more fulfilled than you can imagine.  

Lesson #2: You always have something to give.  

One of the most common misconceptions is that if you don’t have much to offer, your gift won’t be as significant. The truth is that giving to others has no price tag and there is no rule that says you must donate a certain amount of your time or money. There are so many small ways to help someone else that may make more of a difference in their life than you realize.  

Small things you can do for others to make their day better:

  • Smile at a stranger. 
  • Hold the door. 
  • Give someone a hug. 
  • Get off your phone and be present with the people you’re with. 

Lesson #3: Not everyone has the same story as you.

Giving often means that you’ll be exposed to many different people from different backgrounds and walks of life. This will teach you one of the most important lessons you could possibly learn: to be grateful for all you have.  

Oftentimes, we take for granted the things we have in our lives. Things like having a home, a job, a family, and good health aren’t always the case for everyone. Everyone has different backgrounds and struggles, and we could all use a little help every now and then. Being a giver could make you realize this more than you might think. 

While being a giver will make the world a better place, it will also make you better in the process. After all, what is life all about if we’re not doing our part to make things just a little easier on others? 

Want more tips on giving to others? Read our blog post here on “Four Suggestions for a Philanthropists’ Bucket List.” 

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