YKK Fundamental Behavior 23 – Give Back
Growing up I was taught one of the most important life lessons from my father. It might not translate as well but here’s a shot: “Don’t let your right hand know what the left hand just gifted.”
From an early age, I learned that giving was an act of kindness that didn’t need everyone’s attention. What you receive in return is priceless. When you were younger and you did something good, you received an award or sticker as a symbol that you did something right, right? The times my father would see me practicing selfless acts, he wouldn’t immediately give me praise. His smile was more than enough, but it didn’t end there. He would ask me how it made me feel and always reminded me that one act could have an impact I may not even see. Little did he know that he was teaching me more than just giving… Each time I was able to help my sister with a homework assignment I wasn’t looking for a reward; the reward was being grateful for being able to give back without any expectations.
Gratitude is a selfless act. Its acts are done unconditionally, to show to people that they are appreciated for what they did or the meaning they have in your life. Believe it or not, studies show that combining the act of being grateful with selflessness can change your brain on a biological level. There’s a big difference between a selfish act and selflessness act. When we are giving with expectation, this creates a short term “happy high” that disappears quickly. When you remove your gain from the picture, it weakens your sense of separation with others and creates a shift towards feeling connected. Be careful, because once you start getting into this habit, you can later become addicted to the euphoria. In just two weeks of practicing selfless giving followed by gratitude, you can create long-term changes. It lights up positivity pathways in your brain and gradually strengthens them over time and rewiring your thoughts for optimism.
What does this practice feel like? It feels as if you never lose when you give. Simply sitting down for a few minutes and writing will make you come face to face with your blessings on paper. For me, this can be an act as small as rounding up my purchase to the next dollar to help a foundation and declining the bell ring at register 10!
May we all have an opportunity this holiday season to serve selflessly and maybe turn what we know as a day of giving into a daily practice that can bring more joy and lasting happiness. The happiest of holidays to everyone.
Senior Sales Representative
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.