Today I listened to a podcast on the Waking Up app with Sam Harris and William MacAskill. This is the introduction podcast in the To Do Good series. In this podcast, Harris and MacAskill talked about altruism and the importance of doing good for others. They spoke about the idea of being self made and how people tend to value this idea of being self made and they are turned off from the idea of giving to others. This may sound strange at first, but take a moment to think about the term “handout” and the connotation that it has. Although this term simply means “something given free to a needy person or organization,” it often has a very negative connotation. In society those who receive handouts are seen as lazy and undeserving. Therefore, those who are in a place to give, tend not to. Their ego convinces them to not give “handouts” to others because doing so would cause them to be enablers. MacAskill argued the importance of giving a helping hand to others because many people who have achieved a lot, in some way have achieved due to some sort of privilege. This advantage could be money, the place they live, the supportive friends and family that they have, etc. All these factors can contribute to someone’s success. Because of this, even if someone is considered self made, they have at some point received some sort of help outside of themselves. Therefore, who are we to say that others don’t deserve a helping hand? Another interesting point that they made is the idea that doing good for someone else is also doing good for yourself. When we do good for others, this lifts our mood and helps us to be more confident. If you are feeling pessimistic or abandoned, a simple way to work through those emotions and improve your mood is by doing good for those around you. This could mean doing something nice for your family and friends, or even a complete stranger. We are all connected in one way or another. I have found that when I remember that fact, I feel much more aligned. It is a human desire to be connected to others. If you want to do more good for those around you, here are some simple ways to:
Donating to an organization or cause that you feel passionate about is a great way to give to someone else. Between charities and GoFundMe pages, there is never a shortage of places to give. Think about a cause that you would love to improve and then find someone who is actively trying to fix it and just needs more money to do so. The feeling of giving back and contributing to a cause that you are passionate about is an unmatched feeling.
Leaving someone a tip is such an underrated way to make a difference in an individual’s life. Any amount is appreciated, but a generous one will leave the receiver feeling even better. As someone who used to work in the restaurant industry, I know that there are many people who are living off of these tips. I worked as a waitress in college and it helped a lot when someone would leave a nice tip. College is extremely overpriced and every bit helped. There are also so many people who live off of tips who have families and responsibilities. Generously leaving them a thoughtful tip does wonders. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that not only does leaving a tip help someone else acquire money, but I also believe that when given with the proper mindset, it opens up the giver to abundance. Money is vibrational and if you are able and willing to give, more will be given to you.
For some mind blogging reason, people still litter. 9 billion tons of litter end up in the ocean each and every year and global pollution affects 100 million people. Do good for your planet (and the aesthetic of your neighborhood) by cleaning up liter. If we all can just pick up cans, wrappers, plastic bags, etc. when we find them, we can greatly improve the health of our planet.
Giving compliments to those around you is an extremely simple and rewarding way to elevate your life and the lives of those around you. People these days are so critical and so free to criticize loved ones and strangers alike. Be part of the solution by lifting the confidence of those around you by simply showing appreciation. Whether it’s telling someone you like their outfit, or something they said, you can speak life into a person by showing love and appreciation for them. I know for myself, compliments never get old. Even if someone seems confident, it doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a little recognition. Working in retail really opened my eyes to how many people have low self esteem and are constantly looking for approval. By showing them that they are doing well and are valued, you are truly giving handing them a blessing.
As you can see, doing good is not expensive or difficult. It simply requires awareness and intentionality. How can you do good today?
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