Part of “It’s Time… Corporate Wellness Series”
A ‘culture of giving’ is not only about contributing money to charity, or volunteering your time for a worthy cause. It’s about creating an attitude of giving, anytime, anywhere. Giving up your seat on the train for someone else, giving way whilst driving, listening to a friend who needs a shoulder to lean on, are all fine examples of ‘giving’.
In the last decade and more there has been a shift towards companies and organizations declaring their commitment towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This is a welcome development away from the aggressive ‘survival of the fittest’ approach to business that was prevalent in the ’80’s. There is a growing realization that satisfaction in life (including, of course, work) is not just about what you can get, but also what you can contribute to others and to society.
For those companies and individuals who take the CSR approach seriously rather than just milking it for its cosmetic or advertising potential, can not only make a huge difference to others and the world, but at the same time generate in its people a sense of self-worth, a shared sense of doing something great and worthwhile. It can create enthusiasm, camaraderie, increased wellbeing, and possibly greater efficiency.
Believe it or not, there is a huge movement of people who have found their calling and life purpose in being able to give their time, energy and money freely without expecting anything in return. Even giving a little can make a difference, and will increase your sense of spiritual wellness a lot. Philosopher Peter Singer explains “Effective Altruism” in his powerful TED Talk.
As we make our way daily from home to work, are we aware of how we can change our hats along the way? We can go from being providers and carers at home to becoming ‘havers’ and ‘takers’ at work. If we go to work only believing it to be a duty in fulfilling the fine details of our contract, in simply making it through to the day the paycheck arrives, then we are highly unlikely to feel satisfied.
However, setting off for our place of employment each morning with the attitude of making a contribution, immediately elevates the meaning of ‘work’ to a completely new level.
People who are just ‘takers’ will always feel empty, unsatisfied, whereas ‘givers’ enjoy their work and their life because they automatically ‘get back’ a greater proportion than they give. This does not mean handing over your life and soul to your employer: it simply means to happily (not grumpily) go the extra mile if and when required, it means giving a helping hand where it’s needed, it means extending yourself and your talents willingly, knowing that you can grow and learn from the experience. All of these things bring meaning and an inner sense of fulfillment.
Some people enjoy their work so much they would do it even if they were not paid for it. What makes our jobs enjoyable is the sense of doing something worthwhile or ‘making a difference’. Even a mundane job can offer the opportunity of making a difference in the lives of the people with whom one comes into contact. Do not underestimate the importance of a smile, a kind word, a respectful attitude, and honesty in our interactions. They cannot only make someone’s day, but they offer an example for others to follow.
No matter how busy we are, how impoverished we may feel after paying the mortgage, or how insignificant we may consider ourselves to be in the face of the problems of the world, each one of us might consider giving something we have to someone in need, even if it be a pat on the back and a supportive word in the ear.
Living in a world where greed and ego have made themselves at home and where competition rather than co-operation is the name of the game, it’s important to live by our innate, positive principles and values. When we see ourselves as an intrinsic and important part of the greatest corporation of all, the human family, then we can put our skills to good use in creating the best outcomes for everyone.
It’s time… to initiate a culture of giving. Moving from wanting to giving no matter how small the act. Paradoxically, the ones who give, end up being the richest of all!
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‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London