In Giving, We Receive

Ever been dared or challenged by a friend??  Maybe you have nicer friends than me!  Well, I was in a deep dialogue with a friend about the concept of this quote and was ultimately challenged to follow this lesson for one day:

The yogi who faithfully discharges his responsibilities without personal motive or attachment treads the sure path of enlightenment.

So, first off,  I had to decipher this message and breaking it down, I interpreted the idea as: “can you go a whole day of taking action without personal motive?”   Hmm, I love challenges (at least the ones I think I can succeed at) and this was a monumental task.  One of the biggest hurdles with the concept is that even when I am doing something for some one else, it often has amazing benefits for me, as well.  Sometimes I think I get more out of the situation than the person I was serving!  Ever had that feeling?


Recently, I attended an event with guest speaker, Nicholas Kristof, who co-authored a book with his wife called A Path Appears.  His lecture focused on the art & science of giving.  He talked about a number of factors that influence giving and guess what?  The brain sensors like it when we give!

Studies with MRI equipment were used to see what parts of the brain are engaged when people give and saw a significant increase in how the pleasure centers respond when offered options and opted to give.  There is so much incredible information packed in this book, from how to make the biggest impact, what the best bang for the buck is and how one person really can make an impact.

Here’s some statistics that will make your jaw drop:

  • By age four, a child of professionals will have heard 32 million more words than a child on welfare
  • Malaria is the world’s single largest killer of pregnant women
  • The cost of getting one more child into the school system for year by deworming is $3.50

How can you make a difference right now?  Here’s a few suggestions:

Feel like there’s too many causes, you want to help all of them and that’s just way too overwhelming? 

This one’s for you: Dollar a Day.  The concept is awesome!  Each day $1 from all participants goes to support a different non-profit.  Plus, you get an automated email with a quick blurb about that day’s project.  You learn about more organizations and support a variety of causes.  Will $1 help?  Yes because it’s a whole bunch of people’s one dollars collectively!!

Want to focus on the children?

There are numerous early childhood programs.  One recommendation by Kristof and WuDunn in the book is Reach Out and Read.  For a monthly donation of $20-30, you can introduce a child to the joys of reading and help get them get caught up so they have a solid foundation and more opportunities as they grow.

Best bang for your buck?

Spend smart.  A single malaria net costs $5 lasts for 3-4 years, and protects, on average, two people.  Against Malaria Foundation provides anti-malaria nets and works with distribution partners to ensure they are used.  Or consider supporting cost-effective deworming for students at Evidence Action.

Prefer to give your time or expertise?

Fabulous! has made it simple for you to search opportunities in your neighborhood based on your interests, skills and causes you care most about.

So will I ever know what its like to give without also receiving something in return?   I’m not sure.  I just know that we’re all connected and I can make a difference – so that’s what I’m going to do…

What are your favorite ways to give?  Share them in the comments below.

~ Health, Happiness and Prosperity ~



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