Life Lesson from Obama

I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t follow politics as closely as I probably should.  Yesterday I made it a point to take an hour to watch some of the Inauguration festivities, including President Obama’s speech.  One of the recurring themes I noticed throughout his speech was that we need to start doing a better job of looking out for each other.  In other words, increase our sense of community, not just within the United States, but with all humanity, within the world.

On a personal note, I made a decision at the end of December, that I was going to donate as much as 5% of my income to some form of charity.  I asked what I refer to as my extended family (family and close friends) if they had any suggestions on where to look.  Of the many causes recommended to me, there were two that really stuck out.  


They both allow you to choose different areas within or outside of the country to donate to and allows you to donate to specific causes (e.g. New Water Wells for Nomadic People in Africa), which I thought was pretty cool.  

I understand that the current economy may make it tough to think about GIVING away money.  While I still think it’s worth finding a way to do, I recognize that you may not be so easily convinced.  With that in mind, here are three self-serving reasons to donate money to a charity:

  1. It’s tax deductible, meaning you can deduct any donations from your yearly income.  You’ll want to check with your accountant about the best way to document this.
  2. Every self-made millionaire whose work I’ve read or that I’ve had the opportunity to talk or listen to has said that the more money you give away/donate, the more income you make.  Yes, in that order.  Brian Tracy refers to this as the Law of Reciprocity.  
  3. You feel good about yourself.  It’s easy to tell people that you’re donating because you belief in support a particular cause.  In reality, I think most people donate because it makes them feel better about themselves.  I’m no exception. It felt great to donate at!  The motivation doesn’t really matter; it’s the outcome that is most important.

Could you live off 99% of your current income?  If you can, consider taking 1% of your next paycheck and donating it to a cause of your choice.  You may find it comes back to you in unexpected ways.

Back to hockey tomorrow…

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