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When Giving Money Isn’t Generous Enough: What Truly Generous People Give Instead

When Giving Money Isn’t Generous Enough: What Truly Generous People Give Instead

We all admire the celebrities who organize and donate to charities all round the globe. But it is not just money, is it? These stars are giving a lot more than dollars. They are dedicating their expertise, knowledge, time, space and energy. This is the true spirit of generosity because the ripples they create are making a better, kinder world. Let us look at 10 VIPs who will inspire us to give more of our own talents, time and energy, although we may not be as rich!

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Khalil Gibran

1. They give their skills and expertise.

In addition to the 30 charities he supports, Sir Richard Branson is dedicated to saving the planet. He is passionate about how clean fuel is the way to go. He has committed $3 billion from his travel business profits in the next decade to combat global warming. An excellent example of giving expertise, instead of writing a blank check. Watch the video, ‘My passion for the planet’ below to discover more about his commitment to saving Earth.

“If you are in a position to make a difference, you’ve got to spend every waking hour trying to make a difference.” – Richard Branson

 2. They listen to forgotten people

George Clooney is determined to end the genocide in the Sudan where half a million people risked genocide in 2012. He founded the United to End Genocide and traveled to the Nuba Mountains in the Sudan to hear the stories of people who were in extreme danger from air strikes. The memory of the Darfur tragedy was uppermost in his mind where 300,000 people perished. Not only did he listen, but he testified before a US Senate Committee. He was arrested a few days later for civil disobedience outside the Sudanese Embassy along with Martin Luther King III and his father Nick Clooney.

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3. They fight for human rights

There are many charities which are working to improve women’s rights and give them access to  free contraception which is a basic human right.  Melinda Gates (co- founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) is leading a campaign to do just this in addition to the AIDS, hunger, peace, water, environment and homelessness charities they support.  Although Melinda is a practicing Catholic, this has not deterred her in trying to help women gain access to contraceptives in the fight against AIDS.

“From those who are given great resources, great things are expected.”-  Elaine French (Melinda’s mother, at their wedding ceremony)

4. They give in-kind

Tom Cruise is famous for dramatically saving people in his films. But, did you know that in real life he has given in-kind by intervening to save people in distress?  Once, when he was relaxing on his yacht, he saw another boat nearby in flames. He went to rescue them immediately. On another occasion, he was the witness of a hit and run accident. He not only stayed with the injured person but footed the $7,000 bill when he discovered the victim had no insurance.

5. They give time

The British comedian Russell Brand (Kate Perry’s ex husband) spends quite a bit of his spare time with the homeless and the down and outs. He is famous for inviting these guys to dinner and he is a great listener and gives up his time willingly to hear what they have to say. Quite a few of them claim to be Jesus, though!

6. They make themselves available

Roger Moore who is now 87, was famous for his James Bond role in the 007 films. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his charity work. He has made every effort to remind politicians and statesman of the importance of the UNICEF’s ‘Rights of the Child’.

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“You have to remind governments of that, and I make a nuisance myself in that respect.”- Roger Moore

He has espoused another cause in trying to ban the sale of  fois gras in the UK because of the force feeding of the ducks and geese.  He personally wrote to every Member of Parliament in the House of Commons to get their help. Instead of just writing a cheque, Roger Moore offered his time and effort for very worthy causes.

7. They give space

Whether it is online space, advertising space or office space, celebrities give willingly to help charities. It has been estimated that when a celebrity endorses a charity, people tend to give 1.4 percent more and that can add up to an extra $100,000 a year.

Talking of space, did you know that the passenger list for the Virgin Galactic space trip includes such prestigious names as Stephen Hawking, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber? The cost of the flight is a mere $250,000. Test flights have been successfully completed and the first actual flights will take place in 2014, according to Sir Richard Branson.

8. They take an interest in the needy

“People chase money and forget that time is our most precious resource.” – Andre Agassi

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Andre Agassi, the former tennis champion, is an excellent example of how he dedicated time and energy to founding a different type of school where at risk kids could reach their full potential.  The school is in southern Nevada. It is completely free and kids are selected by lottery. There is a lot of emphasis on character building and self-esteem. The school has already won an ‘exemplary ‘award from the Nevada Department of Education.

“Tennis was a stepping-stone for me. Changing a child’s life is what I always wanted to do”- Andre Agassi

9. They use life’s lessons as an inspiration for their generosity

When Mariah Carey discovered that her sister was HIV positive, she became more aware of the needs of sick and disadvantaged children. Her Fresh Air Fund was set up to give the kids from the toughest New York neighbourhoods a chance of a free holiday. Over 300 children benefit each year.

In the other children’s projects she has promoted, there is an emphasis on empowerment and career guidance.

“If you see me as just the princess then you misunderstand who I am and what I have been through.”- Mariah Carey.

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10. They are compassionate

Johnny Depp is involved in many charities connected with children too. He was particularly moved when he heard the story of Sophie Wilkinson who was in a coma after a car crash. As she was coming out of her coma, doctors recommended getting taped voices issuing commands which they drew up. All the better if it was a voice of someone she recognized and admired. As Sophie had been a great fan of Johnny’s, he stepped up to the plate and sent a load of recordings. He used the voice he had as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean. This was the beginning of Sophie’s Gift which was set up with Johnny and other famous celebrities such as Richard Hammond and Sharon Osbourne to help other people in coma to wake up.

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” – Johnny Depp

So, celebrities are doing a lot more than signing cheques and presiding at glamorous events. Help to publicize their generosity in doing good deeds by sharing this post on the social networks.

Featured photo credit: Johnny Depp/Andy Templeton via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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