How We Give

How we give is even more important than what we give. We, myself included, too often forget the actual definition of the word give. That definition says that to give means to “freely transfer the possession of something to someone.”

The key word there is “freely.” To me that means to expect nothing in return. Absolutely nothing.

That’s a lot harder to do than it sounds. You may think differently. You may think that you always give without expecting anything in return. But then you don’t send a holiday card to someone next year because they didn’t send you one this year.

Maybe you make a mental note of the value of the graduation gift your son or daughter received from one of your close friends. That determines the approximate value of the gift you’ll give to the kids of that friend.

In cases like that you’re not “freely” giving. You’re making a trade. Your “giving nature” is impacted by what you receive in return.

But maybe you don’t expect anything in return. Except for a bit of recognition or attention for your generous nature. If you expect to be recognized as a giver then you’re expecting something in return.

If you’re expecting something in return it’s not truly giving. Whatever you’ve given it’s certainly not “freely transferred.”

Here’s a little test for you. Do something extra for someone today. Do not let them or anyone else know you did it for them. If you’re like most people, including me, you’ll find the first half of that test far easier to accomplish than the second part. That’s because we have egos and those egos need to be fed. They are hungry little critters.

Give and then forget about it. Give and expect a healthy dose of INGRATITUDE in return. When no one acknowledges your giving then give some more.

If you’re giving solely for the purpose of giving you’ll have no problem with that. If you’re giving with the hope or intent of getting something, anything, in return then you’ll stop giving before long.

I love to think of myself as a giving person but I hate to think of myself as being taken advantage of. It seems to me as if those two thoughts are in conflict with each other.

That conflict prevents me from giving all that I could.

I’ve always heard that people who can forgive and forget have a happy life. I suspect that people who give and forget have an even happier life. So I’m going to try that. I’m guessing it won’t be easy but most things worth doing are not easy to do.

Care to join me?

Are You Keeping Score?

Every year in the United States millions of Christmas Cards are sent through the mail. My mom used to send a ton of them. Each year she would keep track of who she sent cards to and who she received cards from. 


I asked her once why she kept track of who we were receiving cards from and she said it was so she would know who to send cards to the next year. I guess I assumed we just sent the cards to our family and friends but it turns out that was only half true. The whole truth was that we sent cards to family and friends who sent cards to us. 


My dear mom was keeping score. 


Dale Carnegie said, “If you do something for someone else never remember. If someone else does something for you, never forget.” 


His point was pretty simple, don’t keep score!


If you’re giving a gift with the expectation of receiving one in return then you’re not actually “giving” a gift, you’re making a trade. If you do a favor for someone for the sole purpose of eventually receiving a favor in return then that is not a favor, that’s a barter. 


I could write a lot more on this topic but I don’t need to because someone else already did. 


To me, the bible on pure giving was written nearly ten years ago by Bob Burg and John David Mann when they wrote The Go-Giver. It is a truly amazing book, really a life-changing book if you’ll give it a chance. 


It’s a quick read, it’s a great read, it’s an impactful read, it’s a must read. Few books provide a message with the staying power of The Go-Giver and I’ve never met anyone who read it that didn’t agree. 


Now, just so you know, this is about as far away from a paid endorsement as you can get, in fact, the authors have no idea I’m writing this. I just believe this book can help you. That’s all that’s in it for me.


If you give only to get then you’ll likely never feel that you get what you deserve. It is by giving without expecting a return that we receive far more than we could ever expect. 

Don’t keep score, just give. Give freely, give purely, and you will discover that you’ve been receiving all along.