Generosity and Mindful Leadership

In his book ‘Give and Take‘, Adam Grant makes the compelling connection between giving and success.

Although it would seem that takers (people who tend to take more and give little or nothing in return) or matchers (people who keep tabs and make sure every ‘give’ is reciprocated with a ‘take’ and vice versa) would thrive in a competitive world, it is in fact givers who do exceptionally well.

Not just that, they feel more fulfilled and satisfied with their work. Studies by Grant, have shown the higher we look up the success ladder the more givers we find.

Buddhist teachings talk about three forms of giving which can be viewed as opportunities to flex our generosity muscle. They are:

  1. Material giving: 
    This is the giving of things that others need: clothes, food, shelter, money. Many leaders give in this way through their business, company or as a personal commitment.
  2. Giving of fearlessness: 
    This involves providing protection and solace from various kinds of danger and fearful situations. Think first-responders or doctors who bring comfort during moments of great fear. Or a teacher comforting a scared child. For leaders, this also means creating safe spaces for employees and customers to share their views and ideas.
  3. Spiritual giving:
    This involves sharing spiritual teachings, wisdom, and guidance that help people become more peaceful, loving and compassionate. Some people have turned this form of generosity into their full-time purpose on the planet. Teachers like the Dalai Lama, Ramana Maharishi, Thich Nat Hanh and others embody this style of giving.

We all have something to give, no matter what our circumstances.

Each of us right this moment is over-flowing with something:

maybe it’s time

or money

or joy

or creative ideas

Whatever it is, share it with the world.

The Universe sucks at math. Nothing we give is every taken away from us.

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Puja Madan
Puja Madan is a Stevie-award winning leadership coach supporting entrepreneurs build their business with intentional productivity and mindfulness.

Puja’s qualifications include an MBA, 14+ years in tech startups and business strategy, meditation and spiritual development from India. She
contributes regularly to publications like the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen and ElephantJournal.