Saturday, December 19, 2009

Stephen Covey's Giving

As part of our key result areas (KRA for performance measurement), our boss tasked us to "read" (read the book or listen to the audiobook) at least 4 management books per year. He suggested starting with Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

While listening to the audiobook, Stephen Covey mentioned that you can never truly give what you don't own. And that in order to give willingly, you must have had the feeling of truly owning what you're giving.

Flashback to highschool and college days, I remembered I was so stingy in giving things away or in giving gifts to others. Stephen Covey's words made me realize why. Growing up, I did not have many things. The few things (toys and stuff) I received or bought were few and far between. It's the sense of having few that made me cling to them more (in terms of having the stuff materially and for sentimental reasons).

But now that I have a decent job and can afford more things, I am more generous in giving gifts and stuff away. I already feel the satisfaction of "owning" things.

Covey's comment also made me think of what others would describe as rich people (especially those who grew up in well-to-do families) who are very generous to others and people who grew up poor but are now rich as stingy.

Rich people can afford to be generous because they have had the satisfaction of "owning". Some poor people cannot afford to be generous with what little they have. Others (those who grew up poor but became rich) still could not afford to be generous because they still have not had the satisfaction of "owning".

Just a Christmas-related realization from a timeless book.


francis said...

Since you're not stingy anymore, what do you plan to give me this Christmas?

Aris said...

Merry Christmas! :)