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Why We Give To Charity: The Human Race At Its Most Exceptional

Why We Give To Charity: The Human Race At Its Most Exceptional

The motivation to help others can spring from multiple thought processes, such as a desire to improve your overall lifestyle, simply achieving that “feel-good” factor, or even wanting to declare your social status through wealthy donations. The question is though, at the end of the day, why do we truly give to charity? Does giving to a charity make you happier, is it that happier people give more, or is it something else?

Modern culture and free-thinking attitudes

Current science at play shows that we naturally want to help others, and that giving makes you happier in general. That warm, fuzzy feeling is your body responding positively to your actions. This particular human trait, at its most basic yet most fundamental, is an ideology that goes back as far as ancient Greece — to the concept of eudaimonia (human flourishing).

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Eudaimonia can be broken down into two differing viewpoints. The first is understanding that human virtue (let’s say, the act of giving to charity) is a prerequisite for people to flourish, to become better, yet acknowledges how external factors such as personal wealth and love can have a positive impact on happiness. The second view is that happiness should be achieved by human virtue alone — a difficult belief in modern times, perhaps.

Current theories suggest that the more happy you are, the more you give to charity. However, further research suggests that there is a growing age gap between those who give to charity the most: over 60s are twice as likely to give than any other demographic. So, are we a less-generous generation than those before us? Are we just less happy? Or is being “a good person” no longer enough to be happy?

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Well, if we put forward the concept of eudaimonia as a possible way of living your life, the reasons for people being happy aren’t exactly prominent on the surface of things — you only have to watch the news to believe that. However, when you really think about it, the concept of “you must have this in your life to be happy” is rather subjective — to the point where it doesn’t really mean anything because what you constitute as success can be completely different to somebody else. The same can be said of love, security, and happiness itself — these are constantly evolving ideals and not static notions. It’s impossible to gauge what constitutes happiness because people have personal viewpoints, and this includes why you give to charity.

Why humanity is brilliant

Britain, as a charitable nation is testament to that free-thinking mindset. Since the devastating recession in 2008, in the face of economic collapse, rising interest rates, unpayable bills, and uncertain futures for charities, the one thing the British public have held fast in is giving to charity. In, 2014/15 Marie Curie were able to provide care for 40,712 people with terminal illnesses, as well as their families. It’s an amazing fact that although times are hard, we still give to others.

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Today, it feels as though we don’t give because we are happy, we give because we emotionally react to a situation — we have something to connect to and to follow, whether good or bad.

So, this brings us to the question of why do we really give to charity? In modern culture, people don’t give to charity just because they’re happy, although that is still a fair enough reason. People give because they have the ability to see the world around them. They see countries devastated by nature, disease, and corruption, and seeing cancer tear through a family emotionally impacts us. It’s this understanding that leads to giving. People want to help, we know this, but they give more because they can see its benefit. This isn’t giving necessarily because you are happy, this is giving because helping your fellow man is an ultimate cause — and that is a huge difference. We have flourished to the point where negative feelings can lead to self-improvement just as much as positive feelings. That’s incredible growth.

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The purpose of giving to charity is not self-satisfaction, its purpose is to help those in need. This is something the British public, and indeed the rest of the world, are acutely aware of. It’s why annual events such as Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal are exceptional human reactions to helping those in need. They let us see exactly how we can help by giving, and the benefits of what we give — and long may this continue.

Featured photo credit: Faces Helped By Charity: Water via flickr.com

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Why We Give To Charity: The Human Race At Its Most Exceptional

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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