Giving A Little Extra
I've spent the last year on the road. For a few months of this trip money was very tight. (This was when I was starting my business and had stopped freelancing)
During that time I rarely tipped anyone extra for anything. If food cost 45 Baht ($1.50) I made sure to get my change from the 50 Baht I handed the soup man.
Now, as I'm writing this from China, my financial situation has improved a lot. I'm freelancing for a few different clients and comfortably living in a nice apartment in China, purchasing products in my business, investing in advertising, and enjoying some delicious dim sum!
Once I had a little disposable income, I became aware that I hadn't shared much of anything to anyone for a long time! Every dollar I earned had gone to me and I hadn't 'given' anything. I grudgingly gave away my precious $$ because I needed those bowls of soup to survive and I needed a roof over my head.
It was time for a change.
The Joy Of Giving Extra
When I was living on practically nothing it was hard for me to think of sharing my precious resources (money, time, etc.) just to 'be nice' or 'be generous'. Having almost ran out of money so many times, giving some away was a scary thought!
I'd forgotten how good it felt to be generous for no reason other than to see someone else smile.
Back in college I gave $600 to two student-run startups. I had just watched a Jim Rohn video about generosity that adequately inspired me to take action.
Whenever I gave something to anyone that wasn't expected (a sandwich to a homeless guy or coffee for my group project partners) I always felt good.
Giving extra increased the quality of your life.
Giving a little extra to the taxi driver or the waiter (tipping isn't normal in Asia) means you're leaving someone a little better off than they would be otherwise. This leaves you feeling good about yourself, even if you gave just one or two dollars above what's expected.
With my freelancers I'm now comfortable giving a small 'bonus' every week. It's very small, but paying more than expected makes you stand out as a 'great guy to work with', in addition to building a stronger working relationship.
I'm working with a pre-fulfillment guy in America for my Amazon business and he was extremely nice in that he packaged up a large number of small orders for me that were hardly worth his time. It was great to be able to pay him an extra $20 to buy him and his girlfriend a burrito as a 'thank you!' and he sent me a cheerful message in reply to the PayPal notification.
I didn't realize it until I started giving that 'little bit extra' again, but being able to be generous without being afraid is a luxury. Perhaps it's a low bar to jump over in the grand scheme of things, but when you're broke it looks like the bar is quite high. Giving extra is a luxury that some people don't have.
Whether it's giving your taxi driver an extra $2 for the ride or donating $20,000 to a worthwhile charity, generosity is a luxury. It helps others and it makes you feel great.
Having lived without being able to give more than required, and now having the freedom to do so, I don't want to give it up. My life is better when I can afford to be generous, and so are the lives of the people I come in contact with.
The same is true for you and the people you meet.
Until just a few weeks ago, it had been a long time since I had the opportunity to be generous. When you're worried about your own survival, it doesn't make sense to give away any of your income.
I love giving things away for no reason. Having the ability to do so is empowering and, after the past 6 months, exceptionally refreshing!
If you're hungry, then eating a bowl of soup will make you feel better. If you've got enough for yourself, you would be much better off buying a bowl for someone else and seeing a smile on their face.
Being generous feels great, but it does cost money. If it doesn't cost money then it costs time, and if you're broke you need to spend that time earning money. Because of this, being generous is a luxury.
Giving more than expected feels amazing. It also helps other people.
I don't want to lose my ability to be generous again, and I'm willing to work to make sure that never happens!