What would happen if you said “yes” to every single person that asked you for money? Foolish, absurd, ridiculous idea, isn’t it – especially in this awkward climate of instability and uncertainty?
Well… before you dismiss the idea and move on to your grumpy old routine, consider this: “At any moment, we have the chance through our individual actions to transform others’ behaviors...” Why? Because we all crave to satisfy our need for connection – how we share life with other people, and meaning – believing and serving something bigger than yourself.
Being generous may not be as crazy as you may think (see Freakonomics). And giving money away is not the only way. Help a kid solve a math problem; smile often; take the time to write a thank you note to the customer service rep who solved your problem on the phone (and copy her supervisor); be patient; take the test with the first beggar on the street – define your own way, your unique generosity factor.
For me, it’s time – mentoring and coaching young entrepreneurs, consulting pro bono with some of the causes I believe in – the upcoming TEDxAcademy in Athens being one of them, and while sometimes the money factor creeps in and bugs the hell out of me – I draw back and stay determined to do it all over again and again – it’s more than worth it.
But, don’t listen to me. Sacha Dichter’s speech at NextGen:Charity was posted on TED.com – part of their “best of the web” series. (93,000 views and counting…!)
And I love what Sacha said:
“I’d rather be an evangelist, a storyteller, an educator, a translator, a table‐pounder, a guy on his soap box, a woman with a megaphone, a candidate for change. I want to talk to as many people as I can about my ideas – whether in person or in newsletters or on Facebook or Twitter or in the Economist or at the TED conference or at Davos – and capture their imagination about the change I hope to see in the world.”