By John O'Leary. This was originally posted on JohnOLearyInspires.com. When John O'Leary was 9 years old, he suffered burns over 100% of his body and was expected to die. He is now an inspirational speaker and bestselling author, teaching more than 50,000 people around the world each year how to live inspired. John's first book, ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was published March 15, 2016. John is a contributing writer for Huff Post and Parade.com. John is a proud husband and father of four and resides in St. Louis, MO. Order John’s book today anywhere books are sold.
John Ruhlin grew up poor.
When you grow up poor, you notice when people are generous.
One example was a gentleman in his town named Paul. He was a business owner, coach, father and pillar in the community. He gave freely of his time, talent and finances; expecting nothing in return.
Paul was so beloved that others longed to be generous to him. It created a virtuous loop that made Paul, the individuals he served, the business he ran and the entire community even more successful.
Paul’s example taught John about radical generosity, gratitude as a business advantage, the compound interest earned on persistently giving more than you take and how satisfying it can be to celebrate relationships and make those around us feel appreciated.
One Question to Ask to Give the Best Gifts
Consider this: When the majority of people buy gifts for a birthday, wedding, anniversary or as recognition for an employee or customer, they ask themselves: What’s appropriate? What’s expected? Or, if we are honest, what’s the least I can give and not look bad?
John learned early on to ask a completely different question. Rather than ask, “How much do I have to give?” we should ask “What’s the most I can possibly give?” John was so inspired by this subtle shift that he started a business to help businesses and individuals embrace generosity and gift well.
My friend, generosity can be offered in many ways – all of which can be transformative for the recipient and the provider. It can be as simple as holding a door open or offering a kind smile, a little encouragement or a complimentary word. It can be the gift of volunteering or simply being fully present to another.
While it’s true that when you’re poor you notice when others are generous, it’s also true that we’ve all endured seasons of feeling poor. We’ve all struggled at work (or been between jobs), in a relationship (or with the constant tug of loneliness) and with meaning (or with the nagging question of if our life really matters).
We’ve also been fortunate to encounter the Pauls of the world. Someone who came into our life – sometimes just for a passing moment – but changed us through their example.
Today don’t just thank those who give generously, but become like them.
Turns out you haven’t really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
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