I was very transactional last year. Strapped for cash, I didn’t give much of anything away.
Excepting a few rare occasions the only reason I gave anything away was if I expected something in return.
I was focused on keeping myself above water and I wasn’t donating or expressing much generosity. If I wasn’t getting something n return, I wasn’t giving.
One of the few times I gave without expecting something in return was when I left Thailand for Laos. I gave $15 to the woman who had helped me eat cheap noodles when I was living on $1 per day.
Right after I gave my gift I had all my money taken by the Thai border police, and I desperately needed that $15. It’s a perfect example of why, previously, I a had shied away from opportunities to give. I was in need myself!
Now My Situation Has Improved
I’m back in California. Now I’m spending time in San Diego with some very open minded, deep thinking individuals. Lying down in a comfortable pile of pillows, I opened up about my last year.
That was when it really became clear to me. I saw how transactional I had been last year.
Before I flew to Asia I had really enjoyed giving. In high school I gave food to the homeless in my town. In college I loved sharing with friends. I even donated a few hundred dollars to student startups that I wanted to see succeed!
But, over the past year, fear of being broke and the logic ‘I don’t have much money’ stopped me from giving all together.
I knew something had to change.
I added a few temporary ‘trial’ additions to my Daily Routine.
Give something away.
Give a compliment.
Give thanks to someone.
These aren’t that difficult, are they?
I visited Starbucks on my first day with this new ‘Give, give, give’ routine. Explaining to the cashier I’d like to buy a coffee or a snack for someone, she told me there one of her ‘regulars’ would like an egg bacon sandwich.
His name was Steven, and he’d been hit by some hard luck and was currently homeless.
After paying I walked outside to meet up with my friends.
A few minutes later Steven stepped through the main door and approached me. He was smiling and holding a beautifully crafted paper rose in his hand.
“Thank you, here’s how I can pay it forward.” he said, handing me the rose.
Wow! I remembered why I love being generous.
Maybe that was a sign that I should keep it up. 🙂
I missed a lot of joy when I wasn’t consciously taking steps towards generosity. It’s a shame when the only person you’re focused on helping is yourself.
I talk a lot about becoming financially free in this blog. Perhaps it seems ego-centric, but it’s not. Becoming wealthy is just as much about generosity for others as it is for yourself.
I received a rose on my first day consciously practicing generosity. What might happen for you?