So if you’ve read any of the last few articles we’ve published in 2018 including…
You’ll be familiar with what we’re trying to do in 2018: change the world, unlock miracles, collapse time, and bend the moral arc of history ever more sharply towards justice and beauty:
In this year of 2018, may we all make a greater difference than ever before, take more action, give more, be more, win the battles, turn the tide. May we make strides longer than any in a decade, a generation, may we break the back of the oppressor and the craven despot — and if we fail to do that, may we have the courage to push on anyway, to finish the fight.
Today, I want to talk about giving. In our list of “rules that seem to lead to winning the video game of life” our #2 rule was
Giving brings wealth – “You only get to keep what you give away” (a paradox)
If you want to increase your wealth in 2018 (I do) then the first thing you can do is to give more.
What are we giving more of? Anything and everything we want to increase in our lives this year:
- Good vibes
Let’s take a quick detour to talk about what “wealth” really is. Hint: it’s not just money.
We need money to get along in today’s world: to buy groceries, pay rent, utilities, clothing, education, health care, transportation, and most importantly, to give yourself options.
Money is a battery or reservoir of choice that gives us the ability to bounce back after an illness, sudden job loss, or economic shock. Having extra money also allows you to lend money to your friends or family in need, helping them through difficulties, and therefore strengthening the community of giving and receiving that we are all embedded in.
But true wealth is not only money. It is made up of other important dimensions:
- Knowledge, i.e., metaphysical know-how. How valuable is it to know how to raise goats, or grow vegetables? To fix a motor, install a solar panels, and purify water? To build a house? To program a computer? To sail a ship? To deliver a baby? To set a bone? The value of this knowledge increases as its rarity increases. Today, many people’s primary skills seem to be “I can use a smartphone to order groceries”. We’re approaching Peak Value for traditional or “hard” skills.
- Time, i.e. youth, and unschedule time, primarily valuable because it can be invested to gain knowledge and experience, which over time, compounds into expertise.
- Health, physical and mental, which allows unfettered degrees of freedom of action — the ability to travel, the ability to sustain long periods of concentration and effort, the ability to focus, to think quickly, to derive conclusions, to collaborate with others.
- Network, tribe or community, i.e. other people and relationships, which provide everything we all need. Love is the ultimate binder, and cooperation, not competition, is the guarantor of safety, security, health, care, as well as the peak human experiences of joining and togetherness that we all crave at a spiritual and metaphysical level.
So the most important decision you can make at the start of this year might be: How am I going to invest my time? And with whom?
MINDFUL INVESTMENT OF TIME CREATES COMMON WEALTH
The creation of true wealth has to do with making great choices about how to invest your time, over time, to leverage your health, attention, knowledge, and human connections to cultivate a resilient and loving community of mutuality and interdependence.
At higher levels of functioning, this leads to the creation of a true common-wealth, that is, a community that holds wealth in common for all present by virtue of shared resources, skills, expertise, dependencies, gifts, and obligations.
The Burning Man arts & culture festival is a good example of a temporary commonwealth: for one week, you are part of an in-group of 50,000+ strangers who, in a hostile desert environment, agree to share their resources and help one another regardless of any other group affiliation, demonstrating humanity’s inherent voluntary flexibility and adaptability in the face of hostile and dangerous environments and in service of genuine sociocultural evolutionary goals.
But the Burning Man festival is just one example. There is no reason the rest of us can’t create our own mini “commonwealths” — and we should. The resilience of our civilization probably depends on it. In a way, the Fierce Gentleman community is a budding “commonwealth” all on its own.
In an insecure and technologically fragile society, the only true security comes from relationships with others. An investment of our time, our attention, and our kindness is the only coin we can use to pay for those relationships, and to ensure their enduring strength through times both hard and easy.
I encourage you all to take time to reflect on how you want to give of yourself this coming year. How can you invest your time & energy into strengthening your relationships with your loved ones, friends, family, customers, clients, or colleagues? This is not a purely altruistic goal: it is a self-preservation goal, for the reasons stated above.
Spend just one hour per week helping someone who can’t possibly help you back. If one hour is too much, spend 20 minutes. Even quiet listening helps other people. Take a coworker out to lunch, ask them how it’s been going, and just listen to them talk. Don’t offer advice or solutions, just listen. Do this often and it will work miracles in your professional life.
“God created us so that we should form the human family, existing together because we are made for one another. We are not made for an exclusive self-sufficiency but for interdependence, and we break the law of being at our peril.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu
FOR THOSE READY TO GIVE MONEY
If you have money to give, give it. Even those who feel they are strapped or have little can donate $1 a month, or $5 a month. From that one generous intention to give what you have to others, will flow an avalanche of material & metaphysical abundance.
This year, I resolved to give more money than I ever have before. I set up recurring monthly donations to a number of organizations, a sampling of which are below:
- Chengeta Wildlife – http://chengetawildlife.org/ – a fund dedicated to saving African elephants from poachers.
- American Himalayan Foundation – https://www.himalayan-foundation.org/ – saves Tibetan girls from sex trafficking by investing in their schooling, instead.
- The Malala Fund – https://www.malala.org/ – 130 million girls do not receive an education. Malala Fund seeks to change that
These are my some of favorite charities to give money to, but there are many more to choose from (a few more are on our Get Giving page).
If you want to make sure your donation dollar is used as efficiently as possible, a great organization to join is Giving What We Can (https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/) (Hat tip to F.G. reader and alum Matan!) They evaluate charities to the highest standard of evidence to ensure that the majority of every donated dollar goes to creating better outcomes in the world.
They also have a nifty tool to evaluate how rich you REALLY are, which really puts things in perspective:
- How Rich Am I?
- Global Rich List – a similar tool that also provides amazing stats about our relative wealth
WHO DO YOU CHOOSE TO BE?
You must be deliberate and intentional about what you give, how you give it, and why.
In our video game article I posed the following question:
==> “What choice would I make if this is all a video game, and I want to play to maximize fun, reward, and positive results for myself and others?”
Let me add a proviso to the above question:
==> “What is the most morally integrous choice I can make in this moment? What choice is aligned with my Highest Purpose and my Best Self?”
Let that question guide your week, and it will be one of your best.
P.S. I’m publishing our back catalogue of articles on SteemIt. Here is the list, so far, that you might want to revisit:
Also published on Medium.