What feels good to some people is being generous, and I like those people but they are very rare. Being generous feels good in much the same way that working out feels good. When you first work out, it hurts. Your bones hurt; your muscles hurt, and afterward, they hurt even more. But you feel good, and you’re glad that you did it. You do not regret it. And the more you exercise and work out, the better you feel. And the more you get into the whole thing.
Generosity is like that. At first, it’s kind of scary because you’re actually shredding off a piece of yourself and it’s painful and you don’t think you can get it back. You are right, you can’t get it back after you give it away. But that’s what’s great about generosity. You learn to give. But more than that, you learn to be a giver. And, giving, like working out, feels great after a while.
Generosity is very hard for some people. They use the phrase like pulling teeth and they mean it. They mean that writing a check even when you can afford it is like pulling teeth out of your mouth for some people. When you work in fund raising, you start to realize that. You think that someone is going to be able to help your organization because they have means and they know you, they like your organization. That is not the criteria you are looking for. When you are fund raising, you have to understand that generosity is a rare thing, much more rare than you can imagine. Lots of people have money, but not many want to change the world, not many want to make a difference, not many have felt themselves giving and learned to enjoy being a giver.
It’s very confusing at first. You think that you need two things: Someone who likes what you do and likes you and has the means to help you. That is not it. That is not what you are actually looking for. What you are looking for is someone who is generous.
Generosity means you are not just giving to show off. You are not giving the minimum you could possibly give and still appear to be generous. You are actually giving because you are a giver. Let me say it again: Actual generosity of spirit is much more rare than you think.