Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gifting is life enhancing

Here's something I'd like to share with you... in a sense it's a gift to you, that you can use immediately to add life enhancing value to your life.

A simple and powerful strategy

My beloved and I have for many years now enjoyed a simple yet powerful life strategy called 'Gifting' - which is about gifting behaviours and things to each other and to the people we love, without them having to ask for them or expecting them. The gifts are usually small or simple things that can make a big difference over time.

As an example, we gift to each other 'putting toothpaste on the toothbrush'. What this means is that whenever one of us goes to brush our teeth, we put toothpaste on both toothbrushes, our own, and the other person's -- thereby gifting to each other a tooth-pasted toothbrush, that is ready to use. It might sound trivial, but by gifting in this way the person receiving the gift doesn't have to put toothpaste on their own brush and receives the delight of having that small piece of work done for them.

Now, if we both do this gifting equally, over time, on average, we've both done 2 toothbrushes half the time, amounting to the same amount of toothpasting work as if we'd only done just our own. However, by doing gifting, we've done the same amount of work as not gifting, but we have the wonderful experience and knowledge of receiving a gift half the time, and the pleasure of giving a gift the other half the time. In other words, by gifting we both get much, much more on a day by day basis, for the same overall amount of work. It's a synergistic process in which 1 + 1 equals far more than 2!

Gifting across your life

We do this gifting with as many things as we can, things like toilet-roll replacing, like cleaning up the kitchen, putting things away, doing the dishes, bringing in the washing, lighting the fire or putting wood on it, and things like taking out the rubbish etc. etc. etc. You get the idea. Any item or element of work around the home or anything that adds value to the other person's life.

By both focusing so easily on gifting for each other, we get the same amount of work done, but it feels so great to do, and we end up with lots of positive feelings, thanks and appreciation. Of course a key part of this strategy is 'Thanking' which involves using intermittent reinforcement to thank the person for their great and ongoing gifting.

And another key component, for it to work well is to never expect the gift. If you expect the other person to put toothpaste on your brush, and you get peeved or upset when it isn't done, then you are operating from expectations of reciprocity and you are no longer in the 'land of gifting'. You've moved into bartering and tit for tat. That's not what gifting is about. Gifting is about kindness and gifts of loving that are given freely from the heart. So make sure that if you agree to do gifting together, that you also agree never to do expectations or demands that require a particular act or gifting instance.

Its all about feeling and showing love, appreciation and not taking anything for granted.

Clear outcomes and intentions

Now let's chunk up from this strategy of gifting for a moment. Do you see how, by thinking about what our outcomes are for doing great life'ing together, we have generated simple strategies, that when put into ongoing action, and made into positive addictions, really have made a life enhancing difference in our life. Most people do the opposite of that, and don't equally gift, or show/experience appreciation, but instead force expectations on each other, and everything becomes a demand and a chore, and everyone ends up getting less out of life. And by not getting clear about specific outcomes and the values that drive them, they end up, for no good reason, doing suboptimal and life denying behaviour. Most people have the best of intentions, but no skill in doing themselves generatively and life enhancingly. We can do ourselves differently to that, can't we :-)

Seth Godin's thoughts on gifting

I was reading Seth Godin's blog the other day, and he had some cool distinctions on gifting. Seth is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change. He has written some very powerful and interesting books.
What's a gift?

"I met a big-shot former Fortune 500 company CEO who explained to me that he used to have three secretaries. One for his calendar, one for his usual work, and one who did nothing but send people gifts.

I think when it's sent by a corporation and chosen by a secretary, it's not a gift. It's a present. Or a favor...

A gift certificate from a rich uncle is a present as well, it's not really a gift.

A favor is something we do for someone hoping for an equal or greater favor in return. (Hence the phrase, "return the favor." No one says, "return the gift.")

A present is something that costs money, sure, and it's free, but I don't think it's a gift.

A gift costs the giver something real. It might be cash (enough that we feel the pinch) but more likely it involves a sacrifice or a risk or an emotional exposure. A true gift is a heartfelt connection, something that changes both the giver and the recipient.

The way I understand gifts is that the giver must make a sacrifice, create an uneven exchange, bring himself closer to the recipient, create change and do it all with the right spirit. To do anything less might be smart commerce, but it doesn't rise to the magical level of the gift. A day's work for a day's pay is the win/lose mantra of the industrial era. More modern is to view a day's work as a chance to generate gifts that last."

Interesting thoughts, that go to the heart of gifting. And I like the idea of making every work day a day of gifting... because when you gift to others, ultimately you are gifting to your self and your own life and world. And that is incredibly life enhancing.

Give yourself the gift of Gifting

So there you go, a cool, simple and powerful strategy. Put gifting into practice in your life. Talk to your partner or beloved and explain the concept and negotiate agreement on doing it together equally. You'll do the same amount of work in your life, yet gain the synergy of giving and receiving gifts of heartfelt love on a daily basis. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to walk into the bathroom and find the toothpaste lovingly placed on your toothbrush, ready to use. It's a life enhancing and magical experience that happens daily in our home. And I hope you make it happen in your life too.

Want to learn more, get a copy of my book: Avoiding the Enemies to HAPPINESS!

with great and life enhancing thoughts

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1 comment:

  1. Yes, 1 + 1 can equal far more than 2. Good point, though the toothpaste example wouldn't work with us--my husband knows not to touch my toothbrush (I'm a bit of a germaphobe)! But we have our other small gifts. Giving, or receiving, without expectations or demands is definitely life enhancing.


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