The Dark Side Powers of Charity

by Dan on August 22, 2011

As I’ve studied marketing, I’ve become more and more of a fan of Dan Kennedy.  He is a great writer, brilliant businessman, and has a way of instilling his attitudes right into your being in a very short period of time.

In his book “No B.S. Wealth Attraction in the New Economy,” he has a 90-day challenge he suggests you take part in.  All you do is take 10% out of each paycheck or income stream you get, and give it to charity.  You also take 10% out and put it in a separate savings or investment account.

It’s getting close to the end of the 90 days and I’m going to keep doing it, onwards.  For some reason, more money comes in as I give a significant portion away.  Maybe it’s karma or maybe it’s an attitude of abundance.  There’s also a sense of deservedness that comes with it, as you see yourself as a vessel for goodness coming into the world.  You understand that money is more likely to go to the poor if it comes to you than if it comes to your competitor.

However, I wrote this article to explore the other benefits of charity that don’t get talked about as much.  This is what I call the “Dark Side” powers of charity.  When you give a significant amount of your income (even 10%) to charity, you’re saying some very powerful things to yourself, both consciously and unconsciously.

For one thing, you gain a tremendous sense of power, because you understand on a very real level that you decide who eats and who doesn’t.

It’s true.

While before, you could pretend you couldn’t afford to help the unfortunate in this world, your regular of habit of giving awakens you to the fact that you in much more control than you previously thought.

Suppose you make $7,000 over a month or two.  When you take out that $700, you are effectively deciding, “Do I want some grannies to get their wheelchairs, or do I want some children in Somalia to eat breakfast today?”

And you know what?  When it comes down to it, it is your decision, and no one else’s.

This is why it’s very helpful to make your charity donations one at a time, instead of setting up a recurring payment.  It’s enjoyable to switch it up, so you can get a real sense of who you’re helping this week or month.

This sense of power will make you stronger in both business and your interpersonal relationships.

Let’s look at another area of giving in life: paying for each other’s needs and experiences. We tend to relish getting a free lunch or dinner.  Maybe we feel especially lucky when a stranger buys us a drink at the bar.

However, let’s ask ourselves, when someone buys you dinner, and can easily afford it with no discomfort, who is in the real position of power here?

It’s much better to be the provider in this sense, as you are in control of the other person’s experience.  This is why when a company wants to do business with you over a lunch meeting, they usually offer to buy your meal.  Aside from the simple reciprocity principle, when you agree to accepting their care, you are effectively making them the host of the event, the person running the show.  This is also a reason why when a woman is not enjoying a date, she may insist on paying her half.  Doing this robs the man of his providing role in the situation.

Let’s get something straight, though.  This does not work at all if you are either seeking their approval or feeling uncomfortable about spending money.  People lose respect at a staggering rate for someone that is needy for approval or spending money they don’t have.

This is even more powerful when the person knows that if the shoe was on the other foot, they would be worrying about their budget for the rest of the month.

I was explaining some of this to a friend last night, and he said, “Man, how could you make charity sound so evil?”

Like I said, this is Dark Side stuff, so if parts of this article were uncomfortable for you, I understand.  Just know I mean no malice in it.  This blog is about improving every part of your life that includes the parts of us we don’t always like to look at.

And if you want to start giving but are unsure where to start, I suggest you go to http://www.charity.com or http://www.charitynavigator.com.  They rate charities for their effectiveness, efficiency, and weed out the bad ones that waste a lot of money.  There are some excellent organizations that spend a very low percentage on overhead and do tremendous good for the world.

If you end up doing the 90-day challenge I talked about, it would be great to hear your experiences.  Write in or comment how things work for you.

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