The Value of Generosity: How Giving Can Drive Greater Success

Sometimes the best way to succeed is to help others first. These are the little things we can do to help people – begging a friend or paying bills when someone is unlucky – that often come back in a positive way. Your own generosity contributes to your success.

This post was originally published on Ramit Sethi’s blog “ I will teach you to be rich .

One of my favorite stories of generosity comes from innkeeper Steve Wynn in this article from The New Yorker .

Steve decided to sell the Picasso painting he had acquired for one hundred and thirty-nine million dollars. (Yes, $ 139 million for a painting, “the highest known price ever paid for a work of art” at the time.) That weekend, he invited a few friends to see the painting, while he stood on the sidelines explaining this to his friends , things didn’t go quite according to plan :

Wynn suffers from an eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa, which affects his peripheral vision and therefore sometimes his interactions with nearby objects, and without realizing it, he took a step or two back while talking. “Then I made a gesture with my right hand,” Wynn said, “and my right elbow got into the frame. The image was spoiled. ” There was a distinct tearing sound. Wynne turned and saw on the left forearm of Marie-Therese Walter in the lower right quadrant of the painting “a small puncture, a two-inch gap. We all just stopped. I said, “I can’t believe I just did this. Oh shit. Oh dude. ‘”

Wynn turned around again. He put his little finger in the hole and noticed that the canvas was pushed back.

He told his guests, “Well, I’m glad I did it and not you.”

This is one of the most striking and graceful things I have ever heard. Instead of cursing or getting angry, he simply said, “I’m glad it was me and not you.” In other words, he did it better than you – at least he can afford it.

When I think of “the rich life,” I don’t think only of a beautiful suit or the most beautiful apartment. I think about being generous with my time and money. In fact, sometimes a small helping hand can go beyond a $ 10,000 check.

Steve Wynn’s comment taught me a lot about generosity. In my youth, I did not feel particularly generous. I thought about “paying my fair share,” but I didn’t make generosity one of my core values ​​as I do now.

I remember the little things that taught me to be generous. I remember when I was a student, I asked business people and executives to meet with me for lunch, they always paid. 100% of the time. Although I asked them, they took pity on the student and paid. I will never forget this. Whenever I meet a young college student, I always cry.

I remember receiving a small gift – a simple handwritten postcard – from a person I was helping with some business matters. I will always remember this. I also remember helping someone find a job in New York and only finding out about it a few months later from someone else. When she sent me a letter again asking for a favor, I ignored her.

And I remember the joy when I delivered small gifts to people and saw their reaction. Sometimes it’s a book I find on Amazon, or a photograph of a funny subway sign. It’s such a gift for people to know what you think of them.

Ironically, the more generous I became, the more successful I became. Sometimes the connection is obvious: I help someone, they introduce, and suddenly I am invited to a national TV show. (It happened.)

Other times, generosity returns in unexpected ways. A couple of years ago I was at a club with friends and my jacket disappeared – a $ 1000 jacket. A friend of mine helped me find him, and I felt how terribly he sinks into the stomach when he was nowhere to be found at our table.

Then I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Better me than someone else.” My friend couldn’t believe it. “Doesn’t that bother you?” Of course, it bothered me. But I know I can get another one. I am very grateful for the ability to remain calm about what would have been financially overwhelming a few years ago.

Generosity means I send gifts to friends for no good reason. I love to collect the check. I did this before I had money, and I continue to do it now.

Consider how you can show generosity. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

Have you seen something on the street that reminds you of your friend? Why not send a picture in text and say, “Thinking of you”? If you see a book your mom likes, send it to her and write “I love you” on the title page. What a pleasure it is for her.

Once I could not figure out how to lace up the laces in some way, so I asked my dad. He laughed and showed me. The next time I laced them up, I sent him a photo and thanked him. Imagine how you feel when you receive this from your son.

Generosity also arises from bringing people together. One of my friends, Nick, invites me to his home for events with other interesting people. Another friend gave me advice when I wrote for the New York Times: “Connect with as many friends as possible.” Spread love. I said over and over again that money is only a small part of a rich life. I’m really serious. I don’t want you to just think about how to get the most gain or start the most profitable business.

I can give advice on all this, but then what? I went from being a guy totally focused on achievement and numbers to thinking about the softer side of my core values. And generosity is one of the things I’m most proud of.

I have nothing to sell you. I have no call to action. I just want you to think what your friends are going to say about you. Will there be “generous” in their top three words? Do you want it to be?

Think about it. If you would like to share your thoughts, write to me . I will keep them a secret between you and me. Thank you for reading and for a busy life.

Most Generous Thing I’ve Heard in a Long Time | I will teach you to be rich


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