You can’t buy or enforce happiness. You surely can turn keys to open doors to a happier life. Today I’ll share the power of giving. Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good! Nice people aren’t necessarily the helping ones. Adam Grant showed in Give & Take that givers ultimately are happier and more successful than takers. Everyone can do good for others. Think of the power of “5 minute favors”: costing you little time, but really helping others out.
A gesture, compliment or a smile may be enough sometimes. By giving you can make the lives of your neighbors easier, and more bearable. Brad Formsma uses some latest scientific research in his book I Like Giving on the positive correlation between generosity and happiness and the chapter Dan Pink devotes to generosity in Drive. Giving has to be reinforced, promoted, rewarded. Think of modern peer bonus programs. Kudos or Klout scores given by friends and followers. Help-seeking needs to be encouraged, because a request for help gives an opportunity to give or share. And, leverage your network. Actions speak louder than words and think of powerful references. Don’t limit yourself to your strong ties, but do use the weak ties and dormant ties, because these people did learn different things than your inner circle, and might be the ones with original, innovating answers to your request.
Motivated intrinsically you’re beyond awareness, yet actionable, seeing miracles happen in the lives of others and yours too. Giving is living.
More keys to happier living
In the coming weeks I’ll share more keys for happier living, as part of the Action for Happiness.