Let’s talk about the power of giving as, unfortunately, 2020 is going to be remembered, in the years to come, as the year of the Great Lockdown, the pandemic with more than 155 million people and families infected by covid-19, 3.25 million lives lost and many more “negative” things.
Let me be different and, instead, talk about the positive “happenings” of this disgraced year, you wouldn’t imagine how many I’ve seen around.
I’m not talking about the forced smiling that plenty of people have been “putting up” when saying: “Oh yeah 2020 has been pushing me towards a new business model and its working! Or I’ve been fast adapting and thriving like never before thank you pandemic! Or even, you need disruption to see changes!”
I’m mostly referring to all those actions which have never been asked for but, naturally, happened and, the way they did, have been raising my faith in humankind and the good that we carry within ourselves.
Smile and you will make a difference
Let’s start with the front-liners of the pandemic. Nurses, doctors, healthcare and medical related staff all around the world have been standing still to their posts and didn’t concede anything to the “invisible enemy”, the virus. I’ve seen hundreds of pictures in the media and all social media platforms showing to the world these unsung heroes’ smiles! In reply to their dedication and respect for their work, we all should act wisely and follow the various SOPs, “always-wear-a-mask” and “social distancing” recommendations.
Help your neighbourhoods thriving
Another great way of helping / giving back to the society is what plenty of Malaysians have done in the past several months. Buy Malaysian made products and support the neighbour where you live by ordering food from the owners of those food stalls which have been mushrooming all around KL and Greater KL. It’s simple, not expensive and, above all, absolutely delicious! Scrolling the newsfeed of most platform will show you what I mean. The great part of it is that it happened spontaneously! Let’s do our part to spread this simple way of “doing good”
An “Eco-friendly” pandemic
Humankind has been showing in many different ways its willingness to give and share to help others. Our wellness measuring parameters have been changing because of this pandemic and we have seen also a great “Eco-friendly” deal that the lockdown has been realising for us all. Pollution and traffic jam have been reduced and we all became more aware of ways of being more sustainable. Hopefully this new revised and more sustainable direction will be maintained once the pandemic will be over.
Give and miracles will happen
Then we come to the greatest effect of the pandemic on human behaviours, the willingness to give and the looking at it not as an obligation but a privilege! It is often said that “social changes happen one person at the time” It may look as an overused quote, but the truth is that we all, humankind, need desperately examples to follow and learn from, kind of needing to keep on being reminded about the beauty of giving as a positive social change.
Another very important learning I’ve personally got is that giving is not about money but smile, care and action! One doesn’t need to wait to become rich to give, too easy! Is when you do not have that giving makes the real difference, so: let’s start giving now!
Conscious giving to generate a Tsunami of Good
Let’s understand better how to use a multiplier effect of our giving action as, for sure, if we are able to multiply by 10,000 times the good of our own action, we will generate a “Tsunami of Good Giving”! It’s all about understanding the magic mechanism of “emulative behaviours”.
I’m sure, by talks, we all agree that a positive social change towards a wider “giving” habit is on the top want list of the majority of us. What we all need to do, now, is to become more conscious and plan our “giving” actions in such a way that it will push more people to do so!
These below are two simple core ideas, that we shall leverage on when “giving”, to make sure our action will be replicated as much as possible, they are:
- The social proofing of giving or, the more people will give the more people will be willing to follow and imitate!
- Taking action and leading by example activate social norms which will shift the balance of what is seen as normal. Giving will become an aspiration and privilege!
Knowing more about these two core values will allow all givers to give more and attract even more people to follow.
Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon related to how people copy the behaviour of others. The public is more likely to act or do things if they see others doing it, above all if these others are just normal people. Social proofing has been and is normally used in marketing to get people to “emulate” public influencers or key opinion leaders’ buying habits.
A good and popular example from the past are the flash-mobs which became very popular since 2008, see some famous ones here, here and here. They have been used as entertainment tool with strong attraction side, meaning pulling fresh crowd in, by shopping malls or in place making campaigns. The idea behind social proof is: the more people join in the less fear others will have to join too. Apply this to “giving” and we will see miracles!
Social norms help in transforming something unusual into a normal or acceptable behaviour. Applying it to the “giving” object of this article, it is all about expectations or “what a good individual is expected to do or how is expected to act within a community” (to know more about Social Proof and Social Norms you can read this article)
This can only happen when the “giving” action is highlighted and made public. The more impactful is the action the more followers will generate and again, miracles will happen!
A good example of fantastic emulation has been, in 2014, the “ice bucket challenge”, launched to help raising awareness and funds for the ALS or “Motor-Neuron-Disease”.
According to this news website more than 17 million people ended up worldwide pouring iced water bucket on their heads (the author here has been proudly one of them) and is estimate that almost RM500 million have been raised through donations worldwide, here you can read an interesting article from Forbes.
The whole idea is to transform a “giving or doing-for-good action” in an example for others to follow. There have been several examples of this happening in a widespread way in the past several months all around the world. Let’s keep in mind, though, that to make this kind of action going viral it may take time. So, do not give up in giving and more will follow.
Multiply your impact or the “Multi-Level-Marketing” of Giving
Advocacy can be a good way to generate multiplier effect. For every person that follows our lead, he or she becomes part of the “givers” network and it ends up multiplying the impact of our action and making it easier for the next one to come.
Think about a good action, plenty are the available options nowadays, and do it first! Use social media to say it out loud! Providing this giving is done for the pure pleasure of giving, nothing should be expected in return, you will see many more people joining and, who knows, it might be “going viral” provoking an unstoppable wave of good!
“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”