On a cold Friday night about 22 years ago, I was settling into the warmth and grandeur of Sydney's State Theatre, having travelled almost 900kms by road to come and hear some of the ‘great' personal development speakers from around the world.
One of them was a caricature of a man called Charlie Tremendous Jones. He was, by any measure, your typical rah-rah American motivational guy. His demeanour and his extroversion grated on me but I quickly warmed to the sincerity and power of his messages.
Some of them have stuck with me to this day. One of my favourites was this, “Sometimes the only thing that'll stop you going crazy is music. Other times it'll be your family and sometimes, your work; and each will take turns in saving your life.” Perhaps this is why I'm so happy most of the time. I work at home, close to my family, and usually with music playing in the background!
Another thing Charlie said; a message that relates to the title of this story: “Everyone's got problems. No matter how successful you become, you're not going to get out of problems. Your job is not to avoid problems. Your job is to find bigger ones and better ones, then give those little ones to someone else to solve!”
He went on to say that people are always focussed on small, unimportant problems and because of this, they never stand back far enough to see the big picture and the opportunities it presents. Because of this, a lot of people have a misguided view of giving and the role it plays in the bigger picture. Charlie continued, “If you aren't generous when you have nothing, you won't be generous when you have everything.”
A struggling single parent who gives $5 to Unicef is more generous than a middle-aged man on a good salary who gives $200.
I truly believe that charity (in all its forms), is one of the keys to a successful life. If you want more in life; if you want a better life, give more of yourself and the resources at your disposal. And if possible, do it anonymously. Don't be a gold star chaser. Do it knowing that you reward will come the moment you give. Understand that although your rewards may not come from those you serve, they will come from some place. Earl Nightingale called it one of the great laws of prosperity and success.
Part of this comes from the mindset it creates (abundance) because believing that you have enough to give something away seems to create more for yourself, as if by magic. Conversely, a scarcity mindset says, “I don't have any spare time or money,” and so appropriately, you're rewarded with less of both.
I've long believed that anonymous charity is one of the most selfish but honourable things you can do. Selfish because, through the law of reciprocity, it always helps you; and honourable because it's a genuine win-win.
So if abundance is what you seek, start giving more. If you can do that without anyone knowing – even better.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond to all emails.
Disclaimer: I'm not a psychologist and I'm not a financial advisor's elbow. This material doesn't constitute financial advice but it is a collection of personal opinions, based on my own experiences.
Also published on Medium.