What? Money isn’t the most important thing? Nope…not at all. Money is the outcome of a good business and people make a business possible. Imagine a farmer making money the top priority. They need to make the most so they reduce the amount of water and nutrients that they add to the soil. Maybe they save gas and skip churning the soil at the end of the season…well, if this did all of this in service of money then the crop, this year and the next, would produce lower yields and money would be lost. If they continued to reduce these activities they would soon go out of business or go completely broke. Oddly enough, humans function similarly.
Since humans make a business possible, we have to care for one another in order to make sure we all prosper. This is one of the central points made in a wonderful documentary called Inequality for All. As Robert Reich discusses, a lot of us aren’t too interested in becoming super rich. I know I’m not. I’m totally happy working hard, helping others as a therapist and business consultant and for an amount that will ensure that I’m relatively comfortable.
While Robert does an amazing job of looking at the entire economic system to show how the positive or generous cycle works I’d like to address how the cycle of generosity is felt and experienced.
When someone gives to us, freely and without any conditions or strings attached, we often feel a warmth and deep appreciation if we take the time to be with them and the moment of exchange. I make mention of being with the moment because we can easily neglect what just happened and this is the most important part. When we feel a generous heart in another and it’s directed toward us it naturally inspires us to give back. We’re thankful, appreciative and we want to naturally show this others.
We see this in children all of the time when they want to share. They might hand us a toy or a piece of food and while we might “think” about the exchange we’ve missed it. What they’re doing is saying, “I love you…I like you and this is how I’m trying to care for you.” When we experience such a gesture from an employer on a regular basis we naturally want to work harder…this is our desire to give back kicking in. Now, sometimes we don’t return the favor and this may mean that there haven’t been enough of these exchanges.
If the generosity has run a deficit for a long time then the one who has been taking or neglecting may need to do a bit more to compensate for the pattern…but the other must be open to the change in dynamic. Trust has to be rebuilt or built for the first time. If we take the time to continuously care for one another it’s pretty amazing what can happen. People work harder to support the business, one another and they will often go out of their way to do so.
Personally, when an employer is generous and gives me autonomy to do the work that I know needs to be done, I work really hard. Money is great and I definitely appreciate and need it, like we all do to survive, but when an employer or boss has a generous and trusting heart my desire to do good work really kicks in to high gear! Not only will I work to manage my responsibilities but I’ll do much more! If my employer can see how I’m adding to things and that this is coming from my generous heart, then the cycle is perpetuated.
On the other-hand, if we take away and neglect then this inspires aggression, separation, working against each other, taking or stealing from a business and so on. Which will then run us all into the ground. Generosity is where it’s at and this is why I emphasize this on my website. I’m in the business of a generous life, to help, to care and to continuously have the courage to do so in the face of financial unknowns.
For those who think this idealistic, consider this: When I’m on my deathbed, I won’t regret this way of life. In fact, I’ll feel a great amount of peace within myself because I did what I knew was right, which was to care for myself and others. And for me, a good death that lacks regret is what it’s all about. You may think this is a weird thing but the idea of death is an amazing teacher and helps us point our hearts and lives in the right direction, if we reflect upon it openly, without greed or hatred. If we have children, we should really think of this…what memories will we leave them? What problems will we leave them?
All of our innate answers come back to a generous heart and mind. It’s just good business