recently made a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, and was amazed to learn the history of the city from people that I met. In the past 200 years, they have been through dramatic political and economic upheavals that have allowed them different levels of freedom with each change. They have had their city bombed during wars and have rebuilt buildings and their infrastructure into something that they feel is valuable in telling their historical story. Everyone that I met seemed to have a hopeful outlook for their future and demonstrated a sense of responsibility to use their skills and talents in a constructive way.
As I got deeper into some conversations, I discovered that the people that I met felt that they had something to contribute to their community and it was their responsibility to figure that out. Whether they were a tour guide who spoke multiple languages, or a grounds keeper at a public park, they said that they felt that it was necessary to give their best when doing their jobs and supporting their coworkers so that they, their family, their community, and their country benefited from their efforts.
I believe that we can live happier and healthier lives when we use our skills and talents to work towards the benefit of others. It’s my belief, that we live in a world that operates within a law of giving and receiving. It returns to us what we give out but not necessarily from the same channel that we give to directly. When we give a smile to someone, they may not smile back. But, later a smile or kind gesture is returned to us from someone else. When we give assistance to a co-worker or customer, we may not receive anything in return from them directly. But, later when we need assistance, somehow there is someone there to provide it.
I sincerely agree with Pablo Picasso when he said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” As we discover our gifts and give them to others, we find greater purpose and fulfillment in our lives.
If you could be confident that giving of your skills, talents, and treasures returned to you in the same or greater measure, would you choose to give more of them freely? I hope so. To prove if this law of giving and receiving works, let’s do an exercise.
For the next month, do the following and make notes about the outcomes you receive:
- Write down goal statements each day as though they are received with gratitude.
Include a goal statement that describes the Law of Giving and Receiving in action: “I’m so grateful that as I give freely of my skills, talents and treasures, I receive the same or more in return through a variety of channels.” After writing down your goals statements, read them out loud with emotion.
- Look for opportunities to be helpful to others and take action to do so.
At work, you might offer to help a co-worker with a project. At home, you might offer to do something helpful for your spouse, kids, or neighbor. In your community, you might see an opportunity to help someone by opening a door, carrying a package, providing some money or time to support them, mentoring a student, etc. Use the front part of a notebook that you keep with you to record the actions that you take to give of your time, talents, and treasures to others or organizations.
- Take note of kindness, support and assistance that you receive.
If anyone helps or supports you, or if you receive unexpected income, write it down in a separate section of your notebook. Be sure to record even the smallest things that show up like a parking space in front so that you don’t get wet in the rain. Or, you may notice a kind word or smile from a stranger as you pass by. As you tune in and look for what you are receiving, you will see more evidence of it occurring in your life.
At the end of one month, review your notebook to see all that you gave and all that you received. What are you able to prove? Whenever I do this exercise, I’m amazed at how the law of giving and receiving proves to be true. I somehow always receive more than I feel that I’ve given each time. I know that you will too! Give it a try.
You can learn more success principles in my book and at www.maymccarthy.com.