Leap Year Lesson #99: You Can’t Be Too Giving

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Giving

For three days this week I am attending a conference in Louisville. It is of personal interest and not related to work. The cost, therefore, is coming out of my pocket to attend. That’s expected – no surprises there.

What is a surprise, however, is the generosity of the conference organizers and partner companies, publishers and organizations to arrange to give away to every one of the thousands of attendees 19 books with a total value more than the cost of the conference. That’s amazing. I don’t know how the math works out for a conference that has to rent both the Convention Center and the Yum Center arena to hold its sessions, but I am glad that it somehow does.

The thought that this unusual generosity brings to mind is that you can’t be too kind and giving. Whether or not such generosity somehow finds its way back to you in this life, it at least changes you along the way for the better.

For example, there have been dozens of stories told on our internal social network at the office under the banner of “pay it forward.” These are stories of things like people in a fast food drive-thru paying for the meal of the person behind them without the other person’s knowledge. The other driver gets to the window to pay and is told that it has already been paid for by a stranger.

Any experienced husband or wife would readily tell you that you can’t go wrong being too nice to your spouse. I doubt that many workers have been fired for going the extra mile and doing more than they were expected to do. Occasionally we hear stories of stand-out customer service experiences where the service was over-the-top helpful, far exceeding expectations.

All of the above examples show that it is possible to live life with an attitude and behavior that reflect a desire to be very generous. I suspect that in most cases the giver gains inwardly as much or more than the recipient gains materially.

The world needs more givers and fewer takers. Resolve to be a part of that solution. Exemplify leap year lesson #99 – You can’t be too giving.

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