Updated: Dec 4, 2020
Two years ago I took an evening course that continues to change my life.
It is all about giving – as in philanthropy.
Most regular people have no association with philanthropy, they think it is for rich people, therefore not for me.
Led by the charity BeMore, the course encourages everyone to learn how to be a philanthropist – that is someone who changes the world by giving stuff to others.
Irrespective of how much money you have the bank; the course reminds you that giving can happen in terms of giving time or talent as well as money.
During this free course, you hear lots of people talk about giving, their personal views, as well as research findings and statistics.
There is a bit of research that still fascinates me.
Millionaires – yes those bright shiny people in the distance – do not think they are remotely rich enough.
Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School professor has studied the connections between happiness and wealth. In a recent study he asked more than 2,000 people who have a net worth of at least $1 million (including many whose wealth far exceeded that threshold) how happy they were on a scale of one to 10, and then how much more money they would need to get to 10.
What did he find?
“All the way up the income-wealth spectrum,” Norton says, “basically everyone says [they’d need] two or three times as much” to be perfectly happy.
Did you hear that?
Even people in the top 1% of the richest people in the world, still believe they need significantly more to be happy.
And by significantly more we’re talking twice as much or more!
What hope do WE have then? We’re not super-rich, how are we supposed to have enough to be able to give?
Well, we can learn a lot from them. We can learn that we will never believe that we will have enough. And that this is a mindset thing. And mindset is something you can work on.
What is your mindset when it comes to money? Do you perpetually think you don’t have enough?
I find as an Alexander Technique teacher that A LOT that people struggle to ‘give to themselves’ financially. People linger a long time thinking about whether this work is something they can afford, even while their body is screaming out for some support.
But once they do they tip the other way, and realise that spending money in this way is a SELF-INVESTMENT with great returns.
What is your mindset when it comes to giving? Do you do it?
When it comes to financial giving on average people in the UK give 50% less than people in the US. The stats available show an average monthly amount of £14 given to charity by donors in the UK.
BeMore taught me that the only way to feel you have enough is to give something away.
Giving creates a circle – someone you give to benefits but you benefit too, from the act of giving. It connects you, it helps you to be grateful and it allows you to put some positivity out into the world.
Giving is one of my values these days and it feels right.
This year has a tough year financially. Both the Alexander Technique and my work with theatres have been largely impossible and the Chancellor’s 50/50 rule has excluded my businesses from receiving any financial support. His use of 17-18 and 18-19 data means that they are looking at the years that I spent doing part-time work, while self-funding my training and building my businesses and not the success I had built up by 2019-20. There is no safety net and it is so gutting.
I have kept my commitment to giving despite this and was a mentor this year for BeMore. It has kept me grounded and committed to philanthropy which essentially means ‘goodwill to others’.
Sending my goodwill to you all at this time of year. Sadly this year I don’t believe we have all been in it together when it comes to the practicalities, but I do believe we are all connected and the more we give - the more we understand and can live kindly together.
Here’s to 2021
This year I’m supporting:
ExcludedUK, the volunteer-led group supporting those worst affected by a lack of financial support in relation to Covid-19.
You can read more about Professor Norton’s research here
Picture credits to Migrateful - empowering and celebrating refugees and vulnerable migrants on their journey to integration.