At Down To Earth, we have certainly seen numerous examples of “What comes around goes around,” meaning that you tend to get exactly what you deserve in the long run. Our society is awfully focused on the acquisition of things. People strive very hard to “keep up with the Joneses.” People go to great lengths to protect what they have amassed and keep anyone else from getting their filthy hands on it. Where does it get you? Paranoid. Constantly worried about what might happen to your stuff. Someone might steal it. The government might tax it. My kid might lose it. My wife might wreck it. Sure, you have lots of stuff, but you can’t enjoy any of it and besides that, it’s never enough.
If your house was on fire and you could only grab 3 things, what would you grab? We suggest you worry about those 3 things and let the rest of it go. Okay, you don’t have to give away your jet ski and you don’t have to throw your pool table in the garbage, but let it go in your mind. Once you realize that things are just that, things, they aren’t that valuable anymore and you can be much more generous with your things. You might give some of them away to a charity. You might leave something on the curb for a homeless person to take. You might donate some things to a school. That feels good. That will give you the satisfaction that the things by themselves didn’t give you.
Once you get the hang of being generous with your things, learn to be generous with your time. Take the time to help a stranger pick up a stack of dropped papers. Stop for pedestrians. Cut your neighbor’s grass. Leave a penny. Pick up a piece of garbage on the sidewalk. Listen to your child tell his knock-knock joke for the 6th time. Smile at the gas station attendant. That feels good, too.
True generosity pays off in ways that you cannot even imagine. That gas station attendant that you smiled at may go home in a good mood and be kind to his child. His child will attend school the next day in a good mood and will behave nicely in class. The teacher will have an easier day and will be more friendly to all the students. She will overlook a minor wrongdoing of the class clown and she will not send a note home to his parents. That child will walk home with spirits soaring because notes home mean severe spankings. When that kid sees another kid on the sidewalk, he won’t throw rocks at him like he usually does. That kid will be so happy that when he passes your house, he won’t steal your car radio like he was planning to do. See how that works?