This book will help you improve your sense of well-being and your outlook on life through acts of charity.
If you already give to charities, I salute you for your generosity and I believe this book will show you how to leverage your altruism to tap ever-greater wellsprings of satisfaction through a process I call Personal Philanthropy.
If you don't currently contribute, this book will introduce you to the profound benefits to be had when you – like the characters in the parable you're about to read – become introduced to personal philanthropy as the way to master the art of giving.
In the interest of honest disclosure, let me say that I'm a creative consultant who has partnered with nonprofit organizations for over twenty years. I've helped raise millions of dollars on behalf of such charities as the Arthritis Foundation,the Alzheimer's Association, Habitat for Humanity, Volunteers of America, and many others.
I love that in some way I've helped to make the world a better place… and that every day I can feel good about myself despite all my petty failings and shortcoming, failures and frustrations, because I'm taking part in something meaningful and important. You, too, can have this sense of well-being – whether you have five dollars or five million dollars to contribute, or just an hour or two of your time.
Zen masters put forth that enlightenment comes through remembering what we already know. What we already know but may have forgotten about giving is that when we make a charitable donation we are simply doing a favor.
We certainly feel good about ourselves when we do a favor for family or friends. We should feel the same satisfaction when we give to a charitable cause.
For many of us, however, charitable giving is no longer perceived as a privilege and a pleasure but a duty that provides us with about as much satisfaction as dashing off a check to the electric company. Charitable giving has become merely another obligatory chore during our busy day – that is, if we give at all.
That's a terrible loss, because our potential to enjoy giving is what sets us apart from virtually every other species on the planet. (Yes, other creatures are driven by instinct to act in ways that resemble self-sacrifice on behalf of the herd or their young but only people can choose to give, and only we can feel good about it!)
Think back to the last time you bought a box of cookies or a chocolate bar from the kid next door who was participating in a fund-raiser, or when you dropped a few coins into a trick-ortreater's UNICEF box on Halloween…
I'd wager that giving in those circumstances put a smile on your face and lightened your heart…
You can experience that same one-to-one immediacy and be touched and nourished on psychological and emotional levels whenever you give, even if you only write a check or make an online credit card donation. You can prosper in mind, body and spirit by perfecting the art of personal philanthropy, as you'll discover in How to Save the World on $5 a Day.