Allow me to state the obvious. Helping is fun. Politics turns help into a pawn, and loads helping others with baggage by judging actions, motivations, incentives, and consequences. It’s almost dinner time and I’m going to eat late so I can write this post. This Saturday has been a day of help and fun and no judgement. The world can be as simple as that.
This morning I taught my Modern Self-Publishing class. (Here’s the book in case you missed the class.) Yes, I do that as a business venture. I charge for the class. Originally I charged because people recognize value when something is valued. Free concerts are overlooked and walked past because the only fee is an open instrument case or an upturned hat. If you haven’t read the story of Joshua Bell in the subway, well, here’s a link that reveals human nature. A master musician who can fill a concert hall made less than the price of one ticket when he gave the music away for free. Whoa, that was a digression. I’m not suggesting that my class is that valuable. Maybe it is, but I’ll get to that later. My point was that I charge for the class, but originally I taught it for free because I enjoy teaching. My passions are people and ideas, and helping people further their ideas by introducing them to other ideas is a joy. Of course, now my financial story is different as regular readers know, so I charge.
While teaching the class I watched one of the students light up. After the first hour she interrupted to tell me that the class was far better than she expected, that I should be charging $150 not $60, and that she’d enjoy helping me teach it off-island where she was confident there would be a larger audience. To me, she looked like her joy was more from the opportunity to help someone else (me) than it was at having found a good deal. Quite a few times she mentioned that “We’ll talk.” Sounds good to me.
I was disappointed when class was over and they had to get on with their days and I had to clean up and lock up the rental space. I was having fun, but it was time to move onto something else.
You see, a friend of mine is building a tiny house and I wanted to help. My construction skills are, hmm, underdeveloped; but I’m over six foot tall, willing to lend a hand, and am a photographer. If she needed a hand or two, I could help that way. If she needed some photos for her blog, I could help there too. I’m happy to help because it is a joy to help a friend get something done, especially something vital like housing as the season progresses. By the time I left we’d moved in her futon, positioned the range, and I’d taken a few dozen interior shots. At the same time it was fun visiting and watching someone pursue a passion.
When I got home I was surprised to find a box filling my mailbox. A friend had put together a care package of homemade teas, soaps, and tinctures. He also threw in a couple of lottery tickets. That was sweet. It was also fun calling him up to say thank you. He’s a very self-aware guy, so I knew to trust him when he said, “Hey, don’t worry about it. I did it because I enjoyed doing it. It is fun to help a friend and I knew you’d appreciate it.” He’s a writer and was surprised to learn that Mark Twain wrote an essay based on the concept that every good deed is done for the donor’s benefit more than the recipient’s benefit. (What Is Man? – Mark Twain) I assured him that if I won the lottery jackpot with the tickets he’d at least get the dollar back.
Go Google “The Joy Of Giving” and stumble across more than enough research that shows the positive emotional benefits received by giving. It truly is better to give than receive. There’s an animation on YouTube that does a great job of showing that, but I took so long not finding it that I decided to skip the links before I lost the writer’s thread for this post.
Two separate friends have even based their financial work on giving. Dianne Juhl, the founder of Feminine Face of Money, and I have some wonderful email exchanges on the gifting economy and giftivism. (Stay tuned. We may publish them some day.) Mike Brady even worked giving into the title of his business: Generosity Wealth Management. There is a joy in helping people, and yes, in some ways, money can buy happiness.
I am an extreme moderate independent because I am sure that many of the solutions are in the middle that neither party pays attention to, but my stronger affiliation is apolitical. It looks like inside of politics help is judged, measured, manipulated, and exploited. I know that outside of politics I can daily witness people helping people because they want to, not because they have to. They give because it feels good, and it’s one thing that feels good that the doctor won’t complain about.
This blog is about my book, Dream. Invest. Live., which many interpret as money, money, money. A bit of that is appropriate because today’s society is strongly influenced by money. That’s something I am very aware of right now. But the basis of the book is more about Dream and Live. I find it encouraging to witness those episodes in life when people help people with their dreams and lives, and enjoying offering their help. Of course money can be involved, but we frequently celebrate a job when the person says. I’d do this for free because I enjoy it so much.” Every day we can give ourselves that job, and one way to help someone with that job is to say “Yes.” when they offer their help.
Thanks folks, I was glad to help, and glad for the help too. We’ll talk.