"Write checks on a regular basis to those who you want to bless, not those who you owe. Be generous. If you are thinking of one amount, raise it a bit. They'll be glad now. You'll be glad now and later." Chris Widener in the ABC's of Success.
There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who allow their abundance to pile up and bring them a sense of (false) security, and those who use their abundance to increase not only the joy in their lives but also in the lives of others by being generous.
I believe that the truly successful, those who will change the lives of others and leave a legacy, are the ones who are generous with their abundance. So how do we become generous people? Here are some thoughts.
First, get over your idea that money will bring you security. It won't. It might make you feel more secure, and it might enable you to purchase things right now, but all money can disappear quite easily. Markets go south, businesses go bankrupt, and fortunes are lost. History is filled with poor people who were once rich and lost it all. This idea that we can and have to keep it all is one of the greatest myths around. So when we give money away, it doesn't effect us emotionally, bringing out a fear of lost security.
Second, focus on the joy you bring to others when you are generous. I love to be the one to buy something for someone who would enjoy it, to help someone who needs it, or to encourage someone who would be helped by my generosity. There are always people and organizations who will benefit from our generosity and who will be overjoyed by it. And in turn, they will help others.
Third, make giving a planned and methodical task. I write out checks at the beginning of every month to people and organizations that I believe are helping others. I don't owe them this money, I choose to give it to them. It is something I believe in. Every month without fail I write those checks. It keeps me on track and keeps them encouraged, motivated, and moving in the right direction.
As for methodical, remember that over time, even small gifts add up. Maybe you can't afford to give or help with $300 today, but you could with $25 a month for a year. There is no way that my wife and I could afford to give a million dollars away at this stage of our lives, but our goal is to do that before we die. And I believe we will hit that because we are pursuing it methodically every month. And when we get to the end of our lives, we will be able to look back at our generosity and see that we made a difference. But you can't achieve those kinds of goals if you don't start somewhere and stick to a plan.
Fourth, make your generosity spontaneous. Now this takes a lot of self-awareness because I am not suggesting that you get yourself in financial trouble by being foolish, but here it is: Be the generous one of the group. Pick up the check for you friends and others. I have found that if you are wise with your money you won't get yourself into trouble by being the generous one. Picking up lunch won't break the bank. Offer to do nice things for your friends, relatives and co-workers. And then watch your relationships blossom!
Fifth, understand the principle that you reap what you sow. I truly believe that those who are generous, who help others, will always receive back what they need. I live by the principle of John Wesley, "Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can." This principle brings our finances into perfect tension. Yes we earn, and all that we can, but we also go at our saving and giving with the same kind of gusto! And what happens, but that we are given more to turn around and be generous with again.
Lastly, and this is key for successful people. Never allow there to be strings with your generosity. Do not expect anything in return. That is not generosity but manipulation. Pure generosity is its own reward.
How to start today?
If you aren't currently on a plan of giving, choose a charitable organization you believe in and write them a check - today. And then write that same check on the first of every month.
If you are currently being generous with your resources, seriously consider an increase! Even a percentage or two will help you and them. It will stretch you and encourage them!
Be a Success! Be Generous!