Confessions of a Compulsive Giver
What if you could do one thing every day and extend your life by years? What if the cure for depression, low self-esteem, or addiction was as simple as giving $3.42 per day to a good cause?
So many studies the last few years have shown that giving is not just good for the receiver, but achieves amazing results for the giver. Many have shown that people who give are happier. A 2008 study by the U.K. based Fire Services National Benevolent Fund showed that people who give live longer. A University of Oregon study showed that giving activates the same pleasure centers of the brain as receiving—which are also the same brain centers involved with addiction. Finally, several research studies suggest that generosity is associated with popularity. In fact one showed that the more people give, the more people gave back to them.
I did not grow up in a wealthy home, but despite the shortage of money, I did grow up in a giving home. My parents always tithed to charity. I remember them telling me, “There is always someone who has it worse than you.” And, “it is in giving that you can receive”.
When I left home, I continued my parent’s tithing tradition even as a broke college student, through my first job paying off student loans, throughout my husband’s unemployment when we were on ½ income, and throughout the economic downturn which impacted the business I own and caused my revenues to drop by 50%. I remember people questioning me routinely on that decision and asking why I wasn’t ‘cutting back’ charity until things turned around in my life.
But, giving to me is as automatic as saving money, paying my rent, and paying off debt. In my world, you pay yourself first through a savings account, then you pay the world next as a thank-you for the blessings you have in your life by always donating money to those who could use some ‘blessings’.
As an adult, I view money as my life energy. I trade hours of my life for money and then I have a choice to trade that money for ‘stuff’.
The quality of ‘stuff’ you buy with your money determines the quality of your life.
I am amazed at how much my spending has changed as I age. I now buy ‘experiences’ and ‘relationship-building’ with my expendable income, opting for things that connect me to people, my health, nature, or grow my mind in amazing ways. People who know me know that even when things get really bad for me, I’m writing my gratitudes every day, looking at the positive learnings from my failures, and seeking the silver lining. Some people say every rose has its thorn.
I am grateful that every thorn in my life has a rose!
How are you feeling about all the ‘stuff’ you buy?
Impact Austin is a big part of that positivity for me. I remember being so excited when I discovered Impact Austin because for the bargain price of $3.42 per day ($1,250 per year)…I could change the lives of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people in Central Texas and see, touch, taste, and experience the impacts of my giving. What a rush and what a thrill! The joy it brings me to ‘hang out’ with other ladies who share that same joy of giving is an added bonus (really a 10x bonus!)
So my advice is give, give no matter how much you think you can give – you can always give. Give freely, give daily, give now. Make it your goal for 2014 to bring at least one new member to Impact Austin. I have never regretted one cent of charity I have done. I promise neither will you!
Click firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions!
Elizabeth FrischCXO & Founder, The Thrival Company & Author: Mission to Million