Thanks to everyone who responded to my ask to like, share, or comment on last week’s newsletter.

It was very generous of you and very much appreciated.

This morning I read this op-ed by David Brooks in the New York Times who makes a compelling case that people are, by and large, more generous than we give them credit for.

He cited a meta analysis of studies that measured people’s propensity to act generously or selfishly in various situations. The researcher concluded that people only act selfishly 30% of the time while the vast majority of people act more generously towards others.

This paints a picture different from what we are exposed to in the news, which is often replete with stories of people in fields from business to politics to entertainment who seem to look out for themselves vs. others all of the time.

I suspect that whether we act selfishly or generously may be conditional. Yes there are some people who are, by nature, more generous or selfish than others. But speaking from personal experience I can attest that what is going on in my life impacts how generous I am.

If I’m too busy or too stressed, I may be less likely to notice the needs of others. Take the simple example of holding the door for another person. We would like to think that we always hold the doors for others. But who hasn’t flung open a door rushing to a meeting or event and failed to hold it for the person behind you?

Labor Day will mark the unofficial end of summer as children head back to school, people return to work from vacations and our calendars get filled with more meetings or obligations.

It is natural then that we may be less attuned to the needs of others during this time. Less likely to see past our own growing list of responsibilities. Yet it is exactly times like these where we should be looking to increase our generosity towards others. Looking for opportunities to be more giving and charitable with our dollars, our time and most importantly our spirit.

So let the generous work of this Labor Day be to ease the work of others. Tip and smile more. Say yes to requests to help or mentor others. Leave positive reviews for people and businesses. Relax your own expectations of others and yourself. Check in and see how your friends and families are doing. Show our teachers our appreciation.  And of course, don’t forget to hold the door.

Leave a Reply

Sign up here to receive Moving Up Mondays

Receive our weekly email, delivering inspiration and perspective every Monday morning.