Self help guru, Tony Robbins, states “the secret to living is giving”.
What this suggests is that we are most fulfilled when we are operating from a place of giving rather than a place of receiving; admittedly, it’s nice to receive but when you think about the feelings you have at Christmas, for instance, don’t you find there is more sustainable joy to be found in giving a present someone really appreciates, rather than receiving a gift yourself?
Often, when we see someone get lit up due to a nice thing we have done, it lights us up, we feel good about ourselves and feel connected to humanity, rather than a consumer in life, focused solely on ourselves. Essentially, if you want to experience the richness of life, then it’s necessary to operate from a place of contribution – as this is the most effective way to feel fulfilled in life.
Whether you decide to hand a homeless man a few dollars or work with a voluntary organisation building homes for those in need such as becoming Habitat HM volunteer, the act of making a difference to other people’s lives will make a huge difference in your own life.
Indeed, it appears we feel at our most alive when we are giving back to someone; when we are creating value for another person that goes beyond the scope of seeing what can get in return. When we shift our focus, not on what we can get, but on what we can give life becomes much more fulfilling.
This power of giving is particularly helpful for people facing emotional difficulties, as it shifts their focus from their internal world of thought and feeling to the external world of taking action. See, when we are having a particularly tough time, emotionally, it’s as if we become trapped in our own thoughts; where we ruminate to the point we get trapped in the windmills of our mind where we are mulling things over to the extent it exacerbates the situation rather than freeing our energy to do something about it.
Indeed, there’s even a term for it known as the “helper’s high”, which anecdotally suggests that when a person gives back to society or another person, they receive a feeling of being more strong, energetic, and happy – essentially it boosts their self-esteem, self-image and sense of self-worth.
Additionally, they get an instantaneous endorphin rush similar to the rush experienced in high intensity cardiovascular exercise, ad the body is flooded with feel good hormones.
In summary, the benefit of giving back is not limited to the receiver, it extends to the giver too, and in a world where we are all becoming more distant from one another – as whilst we are connected by mobile devices, practically everywhere we go, how many people, today, walk by the homeless person on the street begging for a dollar to help them get accomodation for the night – whilst marching off in to Starbucks and spending a few dollars to satiate their caffeine craving.
It’s interesting how such a simple change can create a big difference in one’s quality of life. The more you practice this principle of giving back, the richer your life will become, and the more fulfilled you will be as a person.