The Generosity Habit
I read Matthew Kelly’s book, The Generosity Habit, during the Christmas season, but I believe it applies to our lives 365 days a year. As I read and reflected upon Kelly’s comments about generosity it occurred to me that, in a way, generosity is counterintuitive. With so many people all over the world hurting today, there’s no shortage of needs — and Kelly does a wonderful job of pointing out that you don’t have to be Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk to be generous. In fact, most of his book shares 101 creative ways to be generous. To tee up the subject, he provides some interesting points of view, including:
- Generosity is contagious. When one person acts generously, it inspires both the recipients and observers of the generosity to be generous toward others.
- People who are living life to the fullest always believe two things: 1) The future can be better than the past; 2) They can do something today to bring about that better future.
- One of the most interesting things about generosity is that the need to give is generally greater than other peoples’ need to receive. Wow!
- Based upon hundreds of scientific studies, Kelly provides 16 ways generosity is good for you, including improved health, improved mood, longer life, a sense of gratitude, and contentment.
- Generosity feels good. It does! Scientists have discovered that one of the reasons for that is because when you’re generous, your body releases oxytocin — one of the four “Happy Hormones” — into your bloodstream. Oxytocin is also released during childbirth, sex, breastfeeding, exercise, and hugging. It induces feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection with others. (Editorial comment: Please don’t be generous just to obtain more oxytocin. Obviously, that defeats the whole idea of generosity.)
To whet your appetite, here are a few of Kelly’s 101 ideas:
- Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
- Catch someone doing something right.
- Tip generously. (Editorial comment: This is an especially good idea today as, due to the shortage of workers, those whom are working are carrying a heavy load. BTW, 20 percent is OK, but I know someone who tips up to 50 percent.)
- Go out of your way to buy something from a small business.
- Give blood. (Editorial comment: This one is tough for me. Depending on how skilled the person drawing the blood is, I’ve passed out more than once and caused a scene.)
- Be aware of when someone else is in a hurry, and help them get to where they’re going a little faster. (Editorial comment: After two years of Covid disruptions, this is an awesome idea.)
- Be an ambassador of hope. (Editorial comment: This is one of my personal favorites.)
Hopefully you get Kelly’s point and will find a copy of the book, read it, and apply it to your daily life.