The Art Of Giving
Fun Fact: The world we live in would be better, kinder, and happier, if everyone practiced the art of giving daily.
“Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it”
- John Templeton, American-born British investor, banker, and philanthropist (November 29, 1912 – July 8, 2008)
Templeton was one of the most generous philanthropists in history. He gave over $1 billion dollars in his lifetime. Currently the Gates Foundation which has donated over $50 billion dollars. These are big numbers! As for us, what can we do individually to help? Perhaps it is not the amount or size of a donation but the act of giving itself. Studies show that happiness is not necessarily correlated to the amount we give but to the continual daily process. For example, someone who gives a small monetary donation helping others each day for a week, may get a small boost to their sense of happiness each time. This belief is supported by the 2020 study by Aknin et al where small boosts in happiness from daily giving seemed to accumulate into greater well-being.1 Other studies have also demonstrated the correlation between generosity and happiness. In 2019, The World Happiness Report, showed that 600 American adults who spent more money in a typical month on others by providing gifts and donating to charity reported greater happiness. The Gallup World Poll of the same report surveyed more than one million people in 130 countries which indicated that financial generosity is one of the top six predictors of life satisfaction.2 Financial offering is not the only form of charitable giving. For example, we can donate our time through volunteerism, provide kind words, advice, wisdom, and expertise.
Conclusion: Giving something of us daily, will not only provide support and kindness to someone else, but will also provide a great degree of self-satisfaction, well-being, and happiness.
Take-Home: The Art of Giving is a core attribute of who we are as human beings. It offers wellbeing for both the person who gives and the one who receives.
For more in depth information, please read referenced articles below.
1 Aknin, L. B., Dunn, E. W., Proulx, J., Lok, I., & Norton, M. I. (2020). Does spending money on others promote happiness?: A registered replication report. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119(2), e15–e26. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000191
2 Helliwell, J., Layard, R., & Sachs, J. The World Happiness Report 2019, New York: Sustainable Developments Solutions Network. http://worldhappiness.report/2019Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School