For those of you who know me, I am a big fan of the online learning platform http://www.coursera.org A couple of years ago I audited a Positive Psychology course; it’s a new, blooming field in Psychology which focuses on how our positive emotions affect us. The concept has become a rich resource in personal and professional development for me.
Feeding into that dynamic is my recent COURSERA endeavor, Living a Life of Happiness and Fulfillment –the subject matter hones in on the emotion of happiness. It became the catalyst for my GIFT (Gift It Forward Today) yoga/GYROKINESIS® class*. The course talks about the “seven deadly sins” to hindering happiness with positive antidotes to those sins. Love and Giving is one of three antidotes to the Third Deadly sin of Neediness and Avoidance. This sin resonated with me.
I found myself intrigued by the giving as an antidote, and learned the researchers found there are three types of reciprocity styles when we interact with each other. One is through giving, another is through taking, and the third is through matching. What they discovered is givers are represented disproportionately at the top and bottom of the career “success” ladder. They then went on to see what strategies where used by the those at the top of the ladder. The following is what they found about “successful” givers:
•First is they contained the cost of their giving. By this I think of filtering my giving. The filter would be something like a question to myself: How much is this going to take? Am I the right person for this? Can I find someone else who might be a better and or more efficient resource? Key question: Where am I best able to apply my energy for maximum results without burning myself out?
•Second is what is called value extending strategies. So I look at the way I am going to help one person and figure out how to extend that value to multiple people, including myself.
•Thirdly is to have fun and physically see the results of the giving!
Thus the GIFT-Gift It Forward Class. I meet all the strategic requirements of successful givers! I give a yoga/GYROKINESIS® class, if 10 people attend I have multiplied my giving tenfold, and I experience the giving by teaching the class! BONUS: those in the class give in their community using the above parameters and we create a ripple of giving.
If you want to know more about giving, Give and Take by Adam Grant goes into deeper detail.
Just a followup! We had 25 people, from 9 years to 75 years, come to the Gift class! It was an exceptional afternoon of breathe and movement!