“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank
What’s keeping you from being more generous? I have to admit, I’ve rationalized not giving money to people on the street who ask me for it with the thought, “if I gave each of these people what they asked for, I’d go broke.” It’s not really true. When I lived in Chicago, it would have cost me a cup of coffee or two most days. I was also afraid the money wouldn’t really help. The fear was enough to keep me walking right past them.
Have you experienced the fear of losing when you could have been generous? This isn’t just about money. Maybe a competitor asked you about business. You could have been generously honest, but instead you feared being taken advantage of, so you held back. Whatever it was, you were afraid that by giving, you were giving it away.
I don’t think it has to be that way. I believe that when you give expecting nothing in return, everyone wins. Keep on giving and you’ll have an army of friends. I believe that the way you act attracts certain people into your life and repels others. When you act generously to yourself and others, you attract generous people and you repel stingy bastards.
What would happen if instead of giving something away (and therefore losing it), you give because you have enough (and because you know that it will return to you)? I think this is the first step towards fearless, authentic generosity: acknowledge the fear of losing and then let go of the fear. There are countless roads to poverty, but the generous among us will never be poor.
Where are you afraid to be generous? What might happen if you let go of the fear and put more trust in yourself, in other people, in the universe?