What’s in Giving?

Someone once told me that the word “free” is one of the most popular words on the Internet. While I can’t confirm that claim, I can at least tell you that a search for the word on Google returns over 12 billion entries! If the old law of demand and supply still holds, then I would say that people have a great appetite for free things. Of course, you know that not everything that is tagged “free” is actually free; some give you a taste and then ask you for a fee. Notwithstanding, marketers seem to know the power of the word so they use it to attract prospects.

On the other hand, the word “give” has a little above 3 billion entries, which is only a quarter of entries for the word “free”.  Before you tell me that 3 billion is quite a big figure, let me quickly mention that about 1.3 billion of that is “give me”. It appears that people are more preoccupied with what they can get. In fact, a lot of people define success in terms of what they can acquire.      

For the record, there is nothing wrong with the word free. In fact, some of the most precious things in life are free, such as the gift of life. Nevertheless, you will agree with me that most people think of the word in terms of what they can get rather than what they can give. There are few words that make people uncomfortable like “giving”. There is a kind of fear that comes with it. We tend to think that when we give, we lose. How wrong we can be! Giving is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Here are a few reasons giving is so powerful:

  1. It attracts people to you: have you ever wondered why Santa Claus is so popular during the Christmas season, particularly among children? It’s because of his association with presents. According to Andrew D. Blechman, in his book “Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird”, when you feed pigeons, they visit regularly. The amount of food you give determines the number of birds around you. If you give too much feed, you will experience overcrowding. Giving does not have to be financial or material. Actors, musicians, comedians, etc give their skills and their followership never stops growing. You may not have something big but just give.
  2. It multiplies what you give: have you ever tried giving a simple smile to people around you? All of a sudden, you notice everyone seems to be smiling at you. You gave one smile but you got several in return. When you give, you attract gifts.