I’m not a natural giver. It took me years of giving to exercise my generosity muscles and learn how to give cheerfully. There were times when I gave and had sleepless nights as the thought of “What was I thinking?” lingered in my mind.
But one incident gave me more conviction in my giving. Many years ago, our church had a building fund. I made a pledge that I intend to keep. When I finished saving for my pledge, I suddenly had second thoughts in fulfilling my commitment when I saw my friend’s new cell phone. He brought out this masterpiece, the then famous Nokia 8810, with its ‘slidable,’ super slick, slim, and silver body, ready to impress anyone within its radius. I remember forgetting about my pledge and buying that cell phone.
Today the church I was supposed to give to is still making waves. That church blesses thousands of people to this day. My 8810 phone? Extinct. Stuff is just stuff. The latest iPhone 6 will be replaced with a new model again and again and again.
In thinking about “will I buy a new cell phone?” or “will I give?” I forgot the difference between success and significance. You see, you can be successful without ever being significant; but you can never be significant without being successful. When you think of money with significance in mind, you will create meaning with your money. When it is just about stuff, the meaning is very shallow.
I am not saying we shouldn’t buy stuff that we WANT. If you want something and you can afford it, then buy it. But I believe giving should precede buying stuff. It is the main difference between Money that brings joy (lasting happiness) and Money that brings temporary happiness. Some say that money can’t bring happiness. I beg to disagree. If I give you a million pesos right now, wouldn’t you be happy? Of course. But lasting happiness comes from associating money with meaning.
In the book Happy Money “The Science of Smarter Spending” by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, the authors said that shifting from buying stuff to buying experiences, and from spending on yourself to spending on others, can have a dramatic impact on happiness.
Here are benefits to Giving backed up by research according to the book The Power of Giving “How Giving Back Enriches Us All” by Aim Jamal and Harvey Mckinnon.
Benefits of Giving:
It can make a positive difference to others.
There are emotional, physical, and even financial benefits to you.
It can help you achieve your fullest potential.
It can bring you more meaning, fulfillment, and happiness.
Obviously there are more, and the benefits would be personal.
I heard speakers say: “The Secret To Living is Giving” or “Giving Brings Meaning to your Life.” But the Bible says it consummately: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is not a cliché but a truth.
Be strategic in giving. As you work on your career/business and save enough money for your family’s needs, build an emergency fund, invest… you can start giving now. Create a giving budget and give wisely. Then you will see the power of money lose its grip on you and you will start having a firm grip on your money.
If you haven’t given P100 to anyone, then start with P100, or start with P1,000 P5,000 P10,000 or more. It should be a bit painful. And I’m not saying just to give to our relatives, whom we normally give to; but give to a cause, a church, a friend in need, or a foundation whose advocacy you feel is close to your heart. You can even do Random Acts of Kindness, like giving to a waiter who served you well, or give groceries to the poor. Be creative.
When you give to others, you are giving to yourself. In other words, “The more you give, the more you have!”