Join Arianna Huffington for an in-depth discussion in this video Putting our lives in context by giving to others, part of Arianna Huffington's Thrive 06: Understanding the Link between Giving and Success.
- Welcome to class. This is it, our last lesson. What a great class it has been, I've learned so much just being a part of it and I'm so proud of all the work we've done here together. So, let's review from Lesson Five, one of our steps was to just simply make a personal connection with people that we normally tend to ignore or overlook. That simple act of saying hello, giving a complement, smiling, it really reconnects us to our own humanity.
You know, my mother had absolutely no sense of hierarchy. We lived in this one bedroom apartment in Athens with very little money, but she never ever made us feel that we are any less than people who had everything and she always made us feel that our sense of abundance did not come from our financial resources. And that's the quality that we can bring to all our interactions. How can we make them personal and how can we therefore reignite that sense of wonder and trust about life? Now I want us to take these connections even further.
As you've learned throughout the course, wellbeing, wisdom, and wonder are all critical to redefining success and to thriving, but they are incomplete without the fourth element, giving. This is just as important as anything else we've discussed here, because without it we live our lives as though everything is shrunk down to our own preoccupations and our own challenges, and then it's much, much harder to overcome them.
I remember when we launched the Huffington Post back in 2005, their first reviews were not good. Actually, I've learned one of them by heart, it said, The Huffington Post is an unsurvivable failure, it's the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishta, and Heaven's Gate all rolled into one. So, how do we overcome naysayers, negative reviews, things not going our way? Believe it or not, giving to others is an incredible way to put everything that's going wrong in our lives in context.
And it's actually the only drug that you can never OD on and that has the only possible side effect of a blissful buzz of knowing that you've made a difference in your life in the course of making a difference in the life of others. And the science is incontrovertible, in both rich countries and poor countries alike, giving to charity, giving of your time, giving of your talents, has the same effect on our subjective wellbeing as doubling a household income.
Going beyond ourselves and stepping out of our comfort zones to help others is the answer, not only to our own problems, but to a multitude of problems facing the world. And the research shows very clearly that volunteering and service are connected to lower rates of depression, making it easier for us to overcome whatever challenges we are facing. I remember a moment when we were in Athens and a complete stranger complemented my mother on a little necklace she was wearing, and my mother immediately took it off and gave it to her, say, hey if you like it, take it.
And the woman was sort of really surprised and she said, well thank you but what can I give you in return? And my mother replied, it's not a trade, darling, it's an offering. And all the science shows that when we give we actually do get back more in return, but that's not the reason we're giving. Today in our last lesson we're going to spend time talking about how we can reconnect with the world in a new way when we integrate giving and service in our lives and how we can find a natural abundance in our own everyday lives.
So let me read you the two steps for this lesson. Step number one, make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit, and pay attention to how this affects your mind, your emotions, and your body. Step number two, use a skill or talent you have, cooking, accounting, decorating, to help someone who could benefit from it. It will jumpstart your transition from a go-getter to a go-giver, and reconnect you to the world and to the natural abundance in your own life.
- Putting your life in context
- Giving to others
- Considering the power of giving
- Practicing giving
- Defining your own success