The YOLO Generosity Doctrine

How do you complete this statement?  “I am generous when…”

Sasha Dichter, the Acumen Fund’s CIO, is full of generosity inspiration.  Yesterday, he posted about his daughter’s kindergarten project to finish just that statement.  About her response (she likes to lend books to her sister), Dichter remarks that we tend to overcomplicate life and it’s the little gestures that truly matter.

Here’s how I finish that statement:

I am generous when…


…I bake a full batch of cookies or make a pot of soup (it’s fun to share plus I shouldn’t eat it all!).

…I finish a book (why should it gather dust on my shelf when I can pass it on to be enjoyed again?).

…someone, anyone asks me for help (because what’s the point otherwise?).


Even if you’re a total cynic, you can find value in generosity.  At the very least, you have upped your social capital.  At the very most, you have fulfilled your true purpose.  As with anything worth doing, generosity is a skill/mindset/approach to life that you must practice.  As Professor Amy Cuddy says, “fake it until you become it.” [Watch her TED talk on body language, power and living up to your potential.]

What we must do:

  • Finish the sentence “I am generous when…” as often as possible to remind ourselves why generosity matters.
  • Fake generosity until we become it (in other words, practice, practice, practice)

Stay tuned for future posts on the value generosity can bring to your life.  Yes, generosity is ultimately a selfish act.


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