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The Giving Zone

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

How to Use the Power of Giving To Make Your Professional and Personal Dreams Come True

By Bruce Painter

What actually got me started on this subject was the fact that as a child and young adult, I had a lot of difficulty and even suffered pain when it came to being able to give effectively. I gave too much to some people. This included giving too much time, too much effort, too much attention, etc. – and at times I resented the people to whom I had given. Sometimes I gave too little to others, and they were unhappy with me. Sometimes I gave people what they didn’t want, and then they became upset.

In other words, I did not have much “Giving Intelligence” – the ability to give others what they want, and, at the same time, to get what you want. Giving Intelligence also includes the ability to choose correctly to whom to give, knowing what to give, and also how much to give.

In consulting with people for over three decades, I have found that the majority of people have difficulty being able to give effectively.

Ask yourself these three questions:
  1. Do I give too much to others – my children, my family, and my friends – and then end up resenting them?

  2. When I resent them, do I then hold back on giving any more to them?

  3. Do I sometimes give people what they don’t want – or do people sometimes give me what I don’t want?

How you answer these and other questions helps indicate your degree of Giving Intelligence. Being intelligent is doing the most important things you can be doing in your life.

When you have highly developed Giving Intelligence, you do the most important things you can. You give others what they want and you also get what you want. This results in a happy life – with great relationships, a successful career, and financial prosperity.

Every moment of your life you are giving, or you are receiving. How well you give, and how well you receive, defines the quality of your life. As you increase your ability to intelligently give and receive freely, you will experience more and more pleasure and happiness in your life.

The process of giving is involved in virtually every human interaction. Without the process of giving, and its counterpart, the process of receiving, nearly everything would be at a standstill. The greatest changes in my life that have affected my success and happiness have had to do with greatly increasing the amount I have given of myself to others. This giving on my part has also most often had a dramatic positive effect on the people to whom I have given.

When I seriously increase how much I give of myself, my world changes to a much better world. I enter into what I call “The Giving Zone” – where life becomes joyful, loving, fun, successful, prosperous, and purposeful. I have used the word “Zone” because many of us have had winning experiences of “being in the zone.” This is the experience athletes hit when everything goes right in their game – a football player, for example, completes nine passes in a row.

“Being in the zone” can also describe the experience of a salesperson who, for example, makes 20 sales in a row and sets a company record. It can also describe the joy of a husband and wife who work to improve their relationship and fall as deeply in love as they were prior to their marriage.

Watch Oprah Winfrey at work as she fully pours her heart out to help transform the lives of the many people she touches. Her supreme ability and desire to give has been a large part of her success and has made her one of the most loved people in America. She lives “in the zone” and is clearly also in The Giving Zone. Mother Teresa was exemplary in her life of giving. She founded and nourished a vast organization of helpers and raised huge sums of money to help multitudes of people. She was certainly a permanent resident in The Giving Zone. Whether it is the superstar athlete who finds self-fulfillment through dedication to a charitable organization, or the business executive who is on a mission to market a product that improves the quality of our lives, the ability to give fully and freely is paramount to maximizing the quality and effectiveness of our lives.

Giving encompasses many areas of our lives, including giving to our family, our friends, our career, our hobbies, our religious organizations, our favorite charities, our pets, and our environment. My life was revolutionized from mediocrity, dreariness, and some selfishness to a heightened sense of accomplishment, happiness, and service. The quality of my marriage, friendships, and career improved. Life became a much more meaningful and exciting adventure.

I believe that when we greatly increase the amount we give, other important character traits will also improve dramatically. A few of these traits may include self-discipline, perseverance, enthusiasm, a hunger for knowledge, and love. For example, when we shift from focusing on ourselves to a passionate focus on a worthy cause, our individual self-discipline will be boosted because of that passionate focus. Another example is, when people shift their focus toward more giving to others, they automatically increase their connectedness to others. Their love and compassion for others also increases.

Because of my own experience and through observing the lives of others, I have come to the following conclusion: When people give passionately and unboundedly in the direction of a chosen purpose, the realization of that purpose will come into fruition at a greatly accelerated rate.


Shirley Twofeathers said...

That last sentence... when people give passionately and unboundedly in the direction of a chosen purpose... this is, I think one of the keys to giving.

When I am totally committed to something, excited about it, passionate and fully engaged, I don't even think about WHAT I'm giving, I just do it.

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