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"That man is never happy for the present is so true, that all his relief from unhappiness is only forgetting himself for a little while. Life is a progress from want to want, not from enjoyment to enjoyment."
Boswell: Life of Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson, poet, biographer, essayist, lexicographer (1709-1784)

Another year of filing income taxes.
I find it’s a good time for a reality check of what I did for others. In the tax process, you’ve probably added up how much money you gave to charity last year, just as I did.

I understand the financial stress of different phases of our lives. The just-out-of-school with college debts. The young family cycle with a mortgage. I’m in the two children in college phase.

Look at your giving as a percent of your income.
Perhaps you also deducted the value of goods you gave to charitable causes.
Think about your volunteer time helping individuals and your community in the past year.
Are you happy with your level of giving of your time, your money and your talents?

How does this relate to civility in the workplace?
So much of the incivility today comes down to focusing on me, me, me. The competition for a bigger title, the drive to earn more money, the outward display of material things, the quest for power.

Giving away time and money falls on the humble and feel-good side of life. Although many organizations now publish huge lists of who donated at what level, our total giving is pretty much our own little secret.

I guess it does focus some on the ‘me’ aspect. It focuses on how happy we are with ourselves, what we did for others. The more content we are with ourselves, the more civil we tend to be…..everywhere, including in the workplace.


After reading this post, I will share a thought I have tried to live by: "Life is not about what we make, but about what we give."

Those who give anonymously, who seek no personal recognition, those are the people who experience the true joy of giving.

Here's a quote from Winston Churchill.
"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."

One more quote (paraphrased) ... from Chuck Kelsey's comments to volunteers at a local food pantry: Give out of your abundance, not out of your concern for possible scarcity.