A few tips to master the skill of giving.

Personal challenges are everywhere. Fears, worries, a lack of finances, a job you don’t like, family that doesn’t appreciate you. These are just 5 things from the endless list of challenges that fills our past, present, and future existence. To say we have a lot on our plate doesn’t do the situation justice.

It’s hard. It really is. Even when you feel on top of things, there is the chance that something will come and tear you down. Considering the situation we’re in, it’s no wonder many of us try to get all we can for ourselves.

People don’t take to make other people’s lives more miserable. They take because they feel they need it to be happy and it’s often true. An extra bit of money or the newest Xbox game would make them happier, at least for a few days. Getting all that we can out of a situation is natural. We will always have some sense of working for personal gain. The problem is we often underestimate the power of giving just a little of what we have.

It is my personal goal to give more than I take. It’s the mountaintop I walk toward daily.

We Underestimate Giving

Most of us underestimate the power of giving. We get a gift for someone’s birthday, attach a nice card and smile along with them as they open it, but most of the time the experience doesn’t go much beyond the common courtesy. It’s the routine we follow on birthdays without paying much attention to it.

I want you to take a moment to think of an outlier to this situation. Go back to a time when you bought a gift you were really proud of. How was that experience? I’m guessing it was far different from your normal party experience. Instead of selecting something you hoped they would like, you probably felt confident that they were going to love it. You could see the smile on their face as you purchased it. On your way to give them the gift, your excitement outweighed the nerves you would normally feel.

Think about that day compared to other days. Was the rest of the day better because of the gift you gave them? These experiences often feel just as good, if not better, than receiving a gift. The problem is they don’t happen enough for us to consider them when the time comes to find a gift. We let our sights fall lower than our potential. You may be wondering how you can create this experience more often. In my experience, there is one key determinant of how enjoyable your giving experience is.

Effort Counts

Creating a good giving experience requires putting effort into your gift or project. Whether you’re getting a gift for someone you care about, making a donation, or giving your time in the form of volunteering, you have to put effort into it. A lot of gifts and volunteering isn’t an enjoyable experience if the only thing we do is show up or grab something off the nearest shelf.

Giving should be something you’re proud of. It should be something you can look back on in a few months and think “Yeah! I did that! I went above and beyond to make a great experience for someone else.” You won’t be able to say that if you don’t make a valid effort to create the best experience you can.

Not only does it hurt you when you don’t make an effort to create something worth remembering, but the other person misses out on a good experience. No one enjoys receiving a quickly thrown together gift on a big occasion. Just a little bit of effort put toward planning and contemplating will allow you to buy them a gift they love. Why not give up a half-hour of your day to brainstorm and come up with something memorable?

Giving Is a Skill

I think we’ve created a narrative within our society that the people who give are simply more generous than the rest of us. It’s like they were given the right combination of genes or the most incredible parents. These things certainly help make a person more giving, but we can all learn how to be great givers. The only prerequisite is caring about giving, and you’re reading this article, so I would assume you have some interest in the idea.

Great givers continue to give because they have found a way to make it enjoyable for themselves. They give because they love the smile someone shows when they receive an amazing gift. People might give because their own life was changed by gifts they received. Some people give because they have a desire to leave behind something positive for future generations. Whatever their motivation is, it’s strong enough to lead them to spend more time, effort, and resources on those around them. They choose to sacrifice buying something for themselves because they feel someone else could benefit more.

When you make that decision to leap into giving with great care and effort, life often rewards you in unforeseen ways. People you barely know might show up for you when you need it most, your friends tell you how incredibly appreciative they are to have you in their life, and the world starts to look a little more like the kind, generous one you set out to create.

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