Lesson Seven - Why there's so much to get out of giving back
Updated: Aug 30
Phew, you've made it!!!
You're almost there and I hope by now you are well on your way to building the self-confidence you need to finish your book and send it out into the world.
But, before you graduate from your 7-Day Emotional Mastery for Authors course, there is one last thing we need to learn, and that is about the importance of giving back.
Now I know in a world where things can be hard to come by, the cost of living is sky rocketing, and you are probably overworked, under paid, and short on time, the prospect of volunteering or donating your time and/or money can be daunting.
I get it...
The thing is, there are many different ways to give back, and it is so important that before you finish this course you identify at least one way that works for you.
From a writing perspective, involving yourself with a non-profit organisation will open a window to a whole other world, and one that will open your eyes to the lives of others, emotionally educate you on other walks of life, and help you as a writer to broaden your understanding of the human race.
Plus, research has shown activities that involve us lending our time or money to help others, including animals, can improve our health so much it actually results in longer lifespans - even more time to keep publishing those masterpieces!
But the big thing, and the reason I want you to do this, is because the same research found that people who give back to others have reduced rates of anxiety and an increased sense of self-confidence when these kinds of activities were carried out on a regular basis.
Now that's what I call a Win-Win.
Want more proof?
You know I love scientifically supported facts, so here's one more...
Through Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology, a specialised type of brain scan, scientists have found that giving activates the same pleasure inducing parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex.
These experiments show evidence that altruism, or actively caring for other lifeforms, is hardwired into our brains and identified as being a pleasurable act.
Put simply, it is important that we include giving back because it will help others - but it will also greatly help us.
You see, giving back is the final stage, the magic piece of the puzzle that completes your new emotional outlook and ensures you have both a purpose for your life - and a purpose greater than yourself.
Why is that so important?
Because there are going to be times when you feel shit. I know that's not exactly what you want to hear, but hey, I said I'd always be honest with you, and the truth is that no matter how committed you are to achieving your goals there are going to be times that things don't roll the way you hope.
When we are faced with those types of situations it's so easy to fall into the old trap of feeling like 'poor me', 'I give up', 'I have no reason to even try'...
But, when you have that second level of motivation, a reason that makes you feel good about yourself and gives you a purpose, it can be just the tool you need to get back on track - and of course, others will benefit from your generosity of time and spirit.
Let me give you an example of what I mean...
My mother is an incredible woman. She is in her 70s and raised me as a single mother on benefits. Now the fact that I went off the rails had nothing to do with how I was raised, save for the fact that despite her limited finances I wanted for nothing and expected the same when I went out into the real world. Wasn't that reality a shock...
But, all her life she longed to travel and help children in third-world countries. With limited finances and a child to raise my mother had to forgo those dreams and instead live a simple life making the best of what she had.
It would have been easy for her to succumb to living in 'the real world' where people just have to accept their lot and live out her life bitter and resentful - but not my mum.
She knew that helping others would greatly improve her own satisfaction in life and allow her to have extreme gratitude for the comfort of a home, food on the table, and all the simple things we often take for granted.
So, at the age of 62 she took a job cleaning to save money so that she could travel to countries like Cambodia, India, Indonesia, and Africa assisting orphanages with whatever they needed to assist in caring for the children, many of who have HIV.
After her first trip to Cambodia her friends and people on Facebook heard about what she was doing and what began as a personal journey, over the past 10 years has turned into an annual pilgrimage supported by numerous people all who donated toys, clothes, hygienic items and cash.
To date, she has helped install electricity in an Indian orphanage that has never before had power, provided sewing machines for young girls so they may learn to sew instead of collecting rubbish, allowed a group of boys in Indonesia to forma soccer team with their own jerseys and win a medal, for a South African orphanage to stay safe by funding new gates and for the children to attend a cinema for the first time.
These highlights are in addition to the provision of badly needed supplies, clothes, medicine, stationary and pretty much everything you can think of.
My mother earns less than $500 per week and lives alone.
She has also realised her dream of travel.
This cause has given her incredible joy. It has allowed others to support her journey and also feel the reward of contribution. It has also helped 100s of children living in extreme poverty.
So, now that we understand the importance of giving back, let's take a look at how you can identify the best way to integrate the practice into your life...
In order to best determine how to give back, there are a couple of things to take into account and they are:
If you had to choose, what could you spare more of - time or money?
What type of cause has the most emotional impact on you?
Only you will know the answer to the first question. If by some chance you are one of the fortunate few who has a bit of both to spare, then the world is your oyster, but if you can only choose one, your choice will also come into play when we look at number two.
What type of cause has the most emotional impact on you - and how can you give back to it?
1. Download and print Page 11 of your Workbook then write down any time you might have free, or any amount you can include into your budget for giving back.
2. Underneath write down any causes that emotionally impact you such as children living in poverty (this might be overseas or locally), abandoned pets, wildlife rescue, people living with a disability, people diagnosed with terminal illness, the homeless, victims of domestic abuse... Unfortunately there are many to choose from.
3. Now to try link the resource you have to offer with one of these causes and think about what you might be able to do to help. For example, if you have free time you could volunteer at a women's shelter or animal refuge. If you have spare budget you can find an authorised non-profit group and become a regular donor or sponsor. If you have a special skill non-profit organisations are always open to receiving help from people in administration, marketing, IT, and repair work.
4. Once you have identified your resource and cause, spend some time on Google to identify where you can be of most help and make contact. It will be well received.
5. When you are certain you have found the right fit, be sure to spread the word. People love to support someone who is lending a hand and will often pay it forward. Just like my mother, you may be able to create your own tribe of community-focused helpers.