‘Tis The Season

It is the season for giving.

Why is it just one season? Why is it only restricted to one part of the year?

Christmas is a joyful time (in most cases) and it’s made even better because we think about others and what to give them and how to bring them joy. Which brings us joy. So why do we restrict it to just one time of the year? (Maybe two if birthdays are a thing for you).

We know that the best way to find joy is to give to others. When we do that, when we look outside of ourselves, we receive in return. It results in us feeling better about ourselves and our world. It creates a positive experience for all involved.

If you want to be joyful all year-round, and not just in December, then think about presents that people would like to receive when it is not ‘in season’. Think about things that would put a smile on someone’s face.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for Christmas and celebrating this season, but I’m encouraging you to bring joy all throughout the year. Be that person.

Dealing with Disappointment

It’s the little things that can take the wind out of your sails.

The most devastated I have felt was after breaking my leg during a game of football. It was one of those nasty breaks, you know, when the bone comes through the skin. After emergency surgery and an insertion of a metal rod, I spent over a week in hospital. The day came when it was time to go home. I was itching to get out of there and just before I was about to leave a doctor entered to look over my leg. I had never seen him before, but he took one look and showed concern over how the wound was healing, “Sorry, you won’t be going home today”.

I was devastated. I had been through so much in the previous week, away from family, friends and my home, and on the brink of being able to return to some form of normality, it was all ripped away.

I never saw that doctor again and I went home the very next day with no issues to report. That doctor will always be a jerk in my mind because that was the hardest 24 hours I have experienced.

There is something incredibly challenging about being so close to a goal and then having the finish line moved further away. It can deplete the strongest will.

I faced a similar feeling last weekend. No broken legs to report, but broken plans…again. After 222 days of having a hard border in Western Australia, travel was opened up which made it possible to visit family and my two eldest children in South Australia. With tickets booked and plans made, the border between WA & SA stayed open for less than two days before it shut tight again because of a Coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide.

I am devastated. I will cancel my trip to Adelaide, for the second time this year. We have all been through so much in the last 7 months, away from family, friends and homes, and on the brink of being able to return to some form of normality it has all been ripped away. So close, yet so far.

So what do I do with this disappointment? How can I ensure that the next few weeks and months are not the hardest that I will experience?

Something that I’ve learned since I had that sporting injury almost ten years ago – gratitude will keep you going. I will have times when I feel sad, and that’s okay, but it’s important that I don’t stay there because I have so much to be grateful for: my wife, my two younger children, our health and safety, the fact my two older children are also healthy, our lifestyle here in Perth, coffee (I could go on). The more I can keep those things front of mind the better my experience of the next few months will be, and I will be more enjoyable to be around. We will get there, this is not forever, just another momentary challenge.

Gratitude aside for a moment, Coronavirus will always be a jerk in my mind.

Compound

I love a good spreadsheet. It helps me keep my life in order by tracking the important numbers. As a number gets changed in one cell, the total is impacted by the exact amount of that change. It is neat and tidy, and precise.

Not everything in life is measured by numbers. You can’t calculate the importance of a specific relationship that you have by allocating a number to it, or a regular activity that you are involved in, or even someone’s presence. Well, I guess you could try, but it would be completely arbitrary and cold. Much of our life is not neat and tidy, and most definitely not precise. (Which is bad news for my spreadsheet.)

Generosity is one such area. We can try and calculate the cost of giving money away in light of how much less we now have, compared to the tax deduction that it has given, but that is an arbitrary and cold process. That is not how generosity works.

Generosity is when you give something away, instead of seeing it as a financial loss for you and a financial gain for someone else, it becomes a compounding transaction creating a positive impact for everyone involved, those who are close to it and not involved, and those who hear about it later. It increases exponentially.

Generosity breeds generosity. It is not possible to run out if it. It is not a finite resource. It is one of a very few things that increase every time you use it. You will never reach the end of generosity because when you think you are there, you will discover more generosity.

Try it out. No spreadsheet required.