“I want to be generous one day, when I’m more financially comfortable,” so many of us say.
“I’ll volunteer more of my time, when I get to where I want to in my career,” we also add.
“I’ll help people get opportunities, when I have all the connections,” we promise.
Why do we do this? Probably because we think that we’re not rich yet. We think we don’t have the resources to help others yet. We think there’s a point when we will wake up and say, “I have more than enough now. Now, I can help others.”
The problem with holding off generosity
A wise friend once told me that our actions shape our desires. Let me repeat that: our actions shape our desires.
Don’t we often expect it to be the other way round? We allow our desires– our wants, needs, wildest dreams– to shape what we do and say.
But, what we do and say also shapes who we are. We are creatures of habit, you and I, and if we deliberately make choices that push us in a certain direction, we begin to become those choices.
So what’s the problem with holding off generosity? Why can’t we wait till we’re making a comfortable income to donate? Why can’t we wait till we’ve landed our dream job to spare time for others?
It’s because when we’ve reached that point in our lives, our desires will have changed. That’s right: if you have a generous heart today– which I know you do– it doesn’t mean that you will STILL be generous 20 years from now.
You have to act on that generosity immediately. Otherwise, 20 years could go by without an act of generosity– and perhaps by then, that desire will be but a faint memory.