Do all the Good you Can
With all the terrible things that seem to be happening in the world right now, we can easily wonder how on earth these events can fit into the grand plan of life. Whoever’s plan you believe that is.
As we approach the end of what has been an extraordinary year, there has been such challenge and hardship for so many people. Many have experienced extreme challenges, financially and emotionally, and so many have lost loved ones. Special people will be missing from the table, or maybe there may not be a table to join.
Those who have all their family safe, and those who have kept their jobs might experience feelings of guilt, wondering why they have been spared when so many others have not.
So what is the key to all this? Is doing good things really good for us?
Surely we need to focus on supporting our own families right now. How can we find time or energy to help others when we're in survival mode? How can we feel proud of what we have to rejoice about, while still maintaining empathy for those who are struggling?
According to Tony Robbins, as human beings we are all driven by six Core needs. These needs are constantly shaping our thoughts, actions and behaviours:
Certainty: We want to feel sure of some things,
Variety: While we crave certainty we also need variety to feel alive
Connection: We all need to belong and feel loved
Significance: We need to be noticed, to matter in some way; to make a difference
Growth: We all need to keep learning and experiencing
Contribution: We all need to contribute in some way to something or someone.
Many of our behaviours are based on which of our core needs are – or are not – being met, and depending on which of the basic human needs are foremost in our personality, we could be spending a lot of time consciously or subconsciously trying to meet them.
Regardless of whether your main drivers are certainty or variety, or connection or significance, the needs of Growth and Contribution are said to be the two major sources of fulfilment and happiness for us as human beings.
And if you are looking to feel good, one of the biggest sources of fulfilment out of all of these needs, according to our philosophy, is Contribution.
Giving. To someone other than us. Contributing to something outside of ourselves, something bigger than us. Giving is food for the soul, or 'the secret to living is giving', according to Tony.
And the beauty of giving is that it doesn’t have to have a price tag and it doesn't have to be 'big' to help us feel good. Here are some tips to make contribution an important part of your life, AND you will feel as if you are the one who is receiving the gifts.
1. Keep it simple.
You can give someone your love or your thoughts. Give a stranger a smile. Just give – something of you to someone else. Give someone your time.
2. Start at home.
If you have a strong need to contribute, you will most likely already be making a big difference in your community. If this sounds like you, remember to keep sight of the fact that giving begins at home and remember to value those closest to you as you try to change the world.
3. Let go of the score sheet.
When we give it's easy to have expectations about what we 'should' receive in return - what we are 'owed.' According to entrepreneur author and speaker Gary Vaynerchuk, when you give without any expectation, when you put others in front of yourself, whether intended or unintended, 'magical' things happen.
4. Giving - an effective Channel changer!
If you've followed Positive Living Skills for any length of time you have probably heard us talk about 'Changing Channels', a concept we share with educators children and families to help them learn effective strategies to change our focus and our feelings. For example, children can imagine that their mind is like a TV and that they hold the remote, with the ability to implement strategies that can help them change from a grumpy channel to a calm channel for example. Focusing on how we can help other people is a wonderful channel changer when we find ourselves focused on what ISN'T working for us or what ISN'T how we would like it to be. Give it a try, it is guaranteed to put a smile on your dial.
5. Model the way for young people.
It could be as simple as giving way to another driver in traffic, or giving someone the benefit of the doubt, or letting someone have your car park or seat on the bus. EVERY action you take as an adult teaches everyone around you the model for your values, especially young people.
The great thing about giving and contributing to someone or something other than you is that you receive so much more as a result of what you have given. Helping others is the best gift you can give yourself.
Giving brings you outside of your own life experience to build empathy, and gratitude for what you have, and it just feels really good to help others. The feeling it can give you is amazing.
You can make a difference to the world by giving.
You might not be able to stop major world events. And it might not make a difference to the people who lost their loved ones, but you can make a difference in your street, in your circle of friends, in your family.
And you can feel proud of that. And you can feel free to enjoy and appreciate the moments you get to spend with people you love. Tell people you love that you love them, hug them if you can, and share a smile and a kind word with every person you come into contact with. You'll feel good, guaranteed.
‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.’
Until next time,
The PLS Team