There are many lessons to be taken from nature. Like planting a seed, for example. It gets shoved in the ground where it is dark, moist and enclosed. Not normally a place that I would choose to hang around in. But it just so happens that this specific environment is the exact one it needs to break out of its seedy shell and begin to grow. From there, it is still in a dark, moist and enclosed area so it must keep struggling and growing in its infancy and head towards the light, finally breaking through the surface of the soil to begin its new life as a plant, which (depending on the type of plant I guess) looks extraordinary.
We can find ourselves in many a dark, moist (?) and enclosed place as we journey through life, and it is those specific environments that provide us exactly what we need to break out, grow and become extraordinary.
Generosity grows. When the need is great, when things seem dark and enclosed, when the local, communal and global problems seem overwhelming, generosity breaks through and becomes an extraordinary plant which gives life to the world.
I no longer feel afraid for our world, because I know that as the need grows, the generosity of people will grow to meet and exceed that need.
Think of the most generous person you know. If you were to tell me their story, I have no doubt that they have been through some pretty heavy stuff in their life. Yet, somehow, they have made it through all of that and still have a generous mindset.
The reason is that generosity is forged in the fire of adversity.
Not everyone who goes through life challenges emerges as a generous warrior, but the ones that do are very special. Because their generosity is birthed from empathy. They know what it is like to go through difficulties, and they also know how important it is to have people around you who can support you during those times, so they are looking for ways to do that for other people.
As we look across our world we see so many people in need, suffering under the weight of global issues outside of their control. It can be overwhelming because each person has a name, a story, desires for what they want in life, and a potential that is yet to be discovered.
It is empathy that keeps us from becoming overwhelmed and instead, drives us towards generosity. Towards action. Towards seeing each person and seeking to understanding what life is like for them.
Empathy is generosity. Just ask your generous friend.
We need generosity.
In a world with increased connections but decreased relationships, now more than ever, we need it. Because it is generosity that breaks down the barriers that we put up, even the subconscious ones, to bring about quality relationships and positive change.
We need it because it is good for us. I talk often about the
health benefits, physically, emotionally and psychologically, that generosity
has. It is so good for us.
We need it because kids in the developed world are growing up
in an unprecedented time of wealth. In Australia, over the next 10 or so years,
we will see the largest transfer of wealth from one generation to another as
the older generation dies. Never before have we had so much wealth. One of the problems
this creates is that children are growing up experiencing large houses, latest
technology, private schools, frequent holidays and access to anything they
want, thinking that is normal. But the majority of the world does not live like
We need it because we are becoming more divided than ever.
Taking sides is the new black. We seem to lack the ability to try to understand
those we disagree with and just write them off as a ‘nut-job’.
Generosity makes us healthier. Generosity takes our focus off ourselves and shifts it on to others, allowing us to notice that people live in poverty all over the world and we can do something about it. Generosity brings us together through one of the kindest acts of seeking to understand the people we don’t agree with and realising we have much more in common that we think.
We need generosity.