Understanding Generosity

Generosity: Origin: 1375-1425; Late Middle English generosite. Nobility of thought or behavior; magnanimity. Readiness or liberality in giving. Freedom from meanness or smallness of mind or character.
Dictionary.com Unabridged | Based on the Random House Dictionary

Generosity: Generosity is the habit of giving without coercion. Often equated with charity as a virtue, generosity is widely accepted in society as a desirable habit.

  • Generosity is magnanimity — "high mindedness"
  • Generosity is lavishness — providing in great amounts.
  • Generosity is bountiful — abundant in bestowing gifts.
  • Generosity is altruism — the practice of unselfish concern to the welfare of others.
  • Generosity is philanthropy — care for the advancement of others usually manifested by donations of money.

Benefits of Generosity

  • Generosity provides courage — to encounter danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness.
  • Generosity provides caring — to act and sacrifice for noble objects.
  • Generosity provides purity of heart — reward for the unselfish care and concern for the welfare of others.
  • Generosity provides betterment — of self for benevolence and also of humankind for advancement of others.
  • Generosity provides disdain — for injustice, meanness and revenge.

Acts of Generosity in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — Tithing can be found throughout both the Old and New Testament from the time of Abraham through to the continued confirmation of Jesus. We are instructed to donate a tenth of what we are blessed with back to God's ministry.
  • Volunteering — According to a survey on the prevalence of community service in America, 60.8 million volunteers performed 8.1 billion hours of service in 2007.
  • Generation G — Social Web Generosity — where the "G" does not stand for greed, but rather for generosity — referring to the emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who engage, share, create and give.
  • Positive Parenting — Foster Parenting — Opening your home, giving of material possessions and devoting time and energies to those whose parents are not able to maintain the responsibility of raising their own children.

Methods for Achieving Generosity

  • Meditate — When we turn our attention inward and re-evaluate what really matters, the desire to give of ourselves to others is given the environment in which to grow.
  • Become a Volunteer — Giving to others in need helps us renew our appreciation for what we have and has us dedicate our time to others.
  • Share Experience and Hope — Learn that generosity does not have to involve finances.
  • Choose to Donate — Find an organization or society that you support and routinely donate items such as old furnishings, clothes, etc.
  • Become an Advocate — By speaking for the humanity in us all, we learn to live with generosity.

Golden Mean

Ungenerousness, Stinginess, Miserliness
Extravagance, Carelessness

Quotes for Generosity

Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our minds to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.
- Barbara Bush -
When a man dies, he clutches in his hands only that which he has given away during his lifetime.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau -
If you can't feed one-hundred people, then just feed one.
- Mother Teresa -
Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.
- John Wesley -

Recommended Reading

The Giving Heart: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life — by M.J. Ryan

An absolutely wonderful read for anyone who wants to learn, understand and incorporate giving as part of their overall life. Ryan has a real gem here that can absolutely change your life.

All You Ever Need — by Max Lucado

This entire book is a parable about generosity. From the start to the end, Lucado demonstrates through his story, examples of lives lived with generosity and giving toward others. A great way to teach readers and 'lead them to water' rather than force them to drink.

The Generosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, and Treasure — by Ken Blanchard

If you already live a life of giving and generosity, this book will help you live more generously. If you do not yet live with this virtue in your life, reading Blanchard's book will help develop this quality in you. Not only is this recommended for yourself to read, but it is also something you will want to share with people in your life who matter.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity. Keith Ferrazzi