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How Does Generosity Play A Role In Happiness?

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When we think about generosity, usually our first thought is money. Our second thought is time. But there are many ways to be generous. Try one of these today.

What exactly does it mean to be generous? When you think of the term, and you try to ignore time or money, what else comes to mind? If you’re having a hard time, you can use this list to give you some inspiration.

    1. Smile. A smile can brighten someone’s day. And it can lighten yours if it is returned. It is the simplest way to give.

    2. Give assistance. If you are like me, you can be so busy you miss opportunities to extend a hand to someone else. Pause a moment to hold open a door, or if you are sweeping the sidewalk, sweep your neighbors also. When I was twelve and thirteen, I mowed yards to earn money. I remember instances when I mowed some for free because I had the time and it was always appreciated. There are many ways to help that take very little time. We can raise our awareness of the needs that exist around us throughout our day.

    3. Bring a positive attitude. Carrying a positive attitude with you throughout your day can positively impact everyone you meet.

    4. Pay attention. When someone is talking with you, give them your attention. Too often we try to multitask. Stop looking at your phone and look at the person speaking. It makes a difference.

    5. Provide a kind word. Encouragement feels good. Sometimes we just need to provide a kind word to change someone’s day.


© Flickr user Witches Falls Cotages.

It doesn’t take much effort, does it? We can be generous every day. Because, in the long run, being generous does open the door to happiness. It’s a genuine feel-good action, isn’t it? We’re all continually seeking ways to be happy, especially in our careers. Dr. Ash ElDifrawi and Dr. Alex Lickerman explored this topic in The Ten Worlds: The New Psychology of Happiness. In their book, they talk about how to best achieve life-long happiness and how your career plays a significant role.

ElDifrawi believes that finding a career that blends what you love, what you are good at, and what can support you and your family is rare. In fact, if you set that as your expectation, then you might be disappointed, he cautions. Careers sometimes must be seen as a means to an end. “Not hating what you do is important, but if working allows you the opportunity to pursue other things that make you happy, then that is okay – that is why it’s called work,” he explains. “Now, if you can find a career that also creates meaning for you, then consider yourself truly blessed. That is a gift.”

This brings to mind an AccelaWork post by Ashley Lee where she discusses how we’re all trying to measure our happiness. Is there some sort of scale we should be using? Can we ever honestly figure out the right ratios in life that will lead to true happiness?

Which leads to my next question: can we accurately measure happiness? Certainly, one can interpret the emotion based on observation. But, does that mean we can gather data that can be quantified and translated into fact-based conclusions? Plenty of us operate under the assumption that we’re happy only to find out days, weeks, months, or years later that we’re not fully satisfied. I hate to be Captain Obvious here, but if we can’t fully grasp our own level of happiness how in the world can an outside sensor do it?

Maybe it’s time to start looking within instead. Perhaps by exploring new ways to be more generous in your day-to-day life, you will finally reach that happiness goal!

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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