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Giving Rich

By: Michael Blankenship |

“Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.”

– Bob Burg

Did you know that Johannes Gutenberg adapted a wine press to make the first printing press in about 1439? The equipment Gutenberg utilized didn’t press grapes, rather it pressed letters onto paper. He was skilled in metalworking and used this ability to make the first movable type in all of Europe! As a good writer friend of mine once assured me, “Everything is derivative.”

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– Mike & Alec

How to “Give” Rich

Not long ago, the economist Arthur Brooks set out to better understand the relationship between income and charitable giving. He examined data for more than 30,000 Americans and controlled his research for every possible factor that could have an impact on income or charitable giving — age, race, religion, politics, marital status, and so forth. Naturally, higher-income resulted in higher giving. For every $1 increase in income, charitable giving increased by $0.14. 

But when Brooks examined the inverse relationship between income and giving, something more surprising emerged — for every $1 in charitable giving, income increased by $3.75. 

In other words, people who give more money away are statistically more likely to go on to make more money. 

Here’s how he explains it: 

“If you have two families that are exactly identical—in other words, same religion, same race, same number of kids, same town, the same level of education, and everything’s the same—except that one family gives a hundred dollars more to charity than the second family, then the giving family will earn on average $375 more in income than the nongiving family—and that’s statistically attributable to the gift.”

The same is true for our mental well-being…

“It turns out that the data on happiness and charitable giving is beyond dispute. People who give to charity are 43 percent more likely than people who don’t give to say they’re very happy people. People who give blood are twice as likely to say they’re very happy people as people who don’t give blood. People who volunteer are happier. The list goes on. You simply can’t find any kind of service that won’t make you happier.”

Seems crazy? 

Maybe not.

After all, many studies have established that charitable giving makes people happier and provides them with a greater sense of meaning — naturally, happy and purpose-driven people go on to make more money than their peers.

The question is, are you giving enough away in your own life to feel happy and fulfilled? If you’re not, then you’re passing up a wonderful (and profitable) investment.

Here are some easy and fun ways you can give more…

  • Adopt a letter through Operation Santa (USPS) and make a child’s Christmas wish come true. 
  • Use Charity Watch to pick a trustworthy nonprofit to help fund.
  • Sign up to serve once a month at your local foodbank. 
  • Start a new community around something you love (i.e. book club, running club, wine club, etc.) or join one and actively contribute. 
  • If you’re an expert at something, give away a few free classes or consultations to help those who couldn’t normally afford your price tag. 
  • Host people at your home more often for dinner.
  • Pay for the meal sometimes when you go out with friends or family.

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Image of The Week

“A four legged tree in Cedar Falls, Iowa. One hundred years ago (1915), John Henning planted four linden tree saplings— two on either side of the pathway—leading up to his front door. Mr. Henning, a farmer who had immigrated from Germany as a young man, had moved into town when he retired. With lots of expereince grafting apple trees, he aimed to imitate the archways of lindens he recalled from Berlin. First, the two on the same side of the walk were lashed together and grafted. Then when each pair was tall enough to arch over the walk, he grafted the pairs. Over time, a towering trunk grew from the original four. The four-legged tree of Cedar Falls has weathered two major setbacks in its long life. Not too many years after Mr. Henning started his project, the front right tree died and a replacement was grafted in. Thus the lesser girth of that trunk. Story Credit: Marcia Milner-Brage from Urban Sketchers”

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

What has a head but no body, a bed but no sleep, a mouth but no voice?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

Why is giving important for feeling fulfilled? How can you work giving into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine? 

This Week’s Challenge

Give! Maybe you buy lunch for a friend, contribute to a charity, or adopt a letter for Operation Santa. Whatever the case, make it your goal this week to give freely (without the expectation of getting anything in return). ‘Tis the season, after all. 

Riddle Answer: A river.

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