Living and Giving

When I consult with corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and success-minded people who read my books or these columns, attend one of my speeches, or watch one of my movies, they often tell me they are unhappy and dissatisfied in their personal and professional life. I am in the habit of then asking them, “Can you tell me about how you are currently giving your money and your time to others?” The standard response is, “What does that have to do with me being unhappy?” My simple answer is, “Everything.”

Success is a follow-the-leader endeavor. We should never take advice from anyone who doesn’t have what we want, and we should seek out those who do have what we want in order to emulate their behavior. Here’s what a few people I respect and admire have to tell us about giving:

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Charles Dickens

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.” Robert Louis Stevenson

“For it is in giving that we receive.” St. Francis of Assisi

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” Shannon L. Alder

“When you give others a new chance, a new chance is really being given to you.” Bryant McGill

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” John Bunyan

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.” Abraham Lincoln

In the aftermath of the disasters in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico, many of us were prompted to give of our time and money. While I certainly applaud and am pleased to participate in the current recovery efforts, giving of our time and money must be a consistent part of our lives. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and other overwhelming disasters get a lot of attention, but there are people all around us who are suffering every day who need a bit of our time, resources, and attention.

I lived far below the poverty level for several years when I was young and have also enjoyed living the last few decades as a multimillionaire. There are many elements of being wealthy that I appreciate, but the most fun and satisfaction I have ever gotten from my money is in the process of giving it away.

As a professional speaker, I enjoy commanding tens of thousands of dollars to make high-profile arena speeches, but for every such speech, I do one event for charity. Some of my most enjoyable appearances have been at nursing homes, school classrooms, and fundraising events for small charities trying to get started.

As you go through your day today, if you want to have more, do more, and be more, find a way to give more.

Today’s the day!



Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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