Guest Post By: Rory Vaden
70% of people admit to giving less than 10% of their income. That’s what a recent poll of more than 3500 people conducted by our team at the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline reported. With America being one of the richest countries in the world, it leaves you wondering, “Why do we have such a hard time giving?”
Our study didn’t attempt to understand that part of the human psyche and so I can’t speak for anyone else. I can certainly say for myself, though, that during the times in my life when I struggled with giving it has been out of a sense of lack.
There were times that I didn’t feel I could give because I was scared that I wouldn’t then have enough for me and my family – it was a lack of Faith. There were other times that I didn’t give just because I didn’t feel a strong connection to the opportunity in front of me – it was a lack of empathy. Lots of times I didn’t give just because I had a hard time making time for figuring out what I should give to – it was a lack of priority.
For me, my struggle with giving changed from an unexpected encounter…
I once had the honor of watching the late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones be awarded a lifetime achievement award for how much money he had donated. During his acceptance speech, he told a story of a young boy who was watching his mother pay bills. The little boy asked, “Mom, what are you doing?” She replied, “Well honey, I am paying bills- which means I am writing checks to pay money for the work that other people have done for me.”
Suddenly the little boy had an idea! That day he worked extra hard around the house and slipped a note under his mom’s bedroom door at night. When she woke up the next morning she saw this piece of paper, which said “BILL” at the top. Underneath it said “Taking out the trash – $5. Doing the Dishes – $10. Cleaning up my room – $20. Total Amount Due – $35.” That day the mom paid the young boy $35 in cash.
However, the next morning the little boy woke up and saw a piece of paper under his door. At the top it was marked “BILL.” Underneath it said, “Cooking for you every day that you’ve been alive – $5000. All the clothes you’ve ever worn – $10,000. Changing all of your diapers and cleaning up after your entire childhood – $20,000.”
The only difference was at the very bottom it said “Total Amount Due – $0. Paid in full by the love that you give me each and every day.”
After the story, Charlie said something I’ll never forget that changed my life and my outlook on giving forever. He addressed this room of 3000 people and said “You see friends, if there is one thing I’ve learned in this life it’s that I never really give anything…every once in a while I simply get a chance to pay back a little bit of all that I owe.”
People who give abundantly, don’t give out of extraordinary excess. They don’t give out of an expectation of receiving something in return. And they don’t give out of obligation. The most generous givers simply give out of thankfulness for all that’s been given to them.
This Christmas season, give joyously and out of thankfulness for all that has been given to you. Merry Christmas.
Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data. Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine.