• July 9, 2014

outstretched handDo pro bono legal work.

Help the disadvantaged.

Help struggling artists (visual artists, performers, musicians, writers) who are sometimes in desperate need of legal help but without enough money to vindicate their rights (or negotiate their contracts, or settle their intellectual property disputes, etc. etc.).

To get new clients? To show the community what a good person you are? No.

Share your skills and talents to people in need. Do this because it will make you happier. Do it selfishly.

One of the most influential books that I have read in the past two years is Give & Take by Adam Grant. I will do the book a slight disservice by trying to describe it in my own words, but the gist of the book is that our greatest rewards, our greatest achievements, our greatest success comes from GIVING.

When you are selfless, when you are generous, you absorb appreciation, respect, and the loyalty of your colleagues, your peers, and your community. As a result, you exponentially increase your chances for greater success personally and professionally.

This is not a new idea. It is simply Ecclesiastes 11:1 (“Cast your bread upon the waters for you shall find it after many days”).

Professor Grant’s book, however, is not formulated in ancient and inscrutable metaphor. Far more importantly (because, after all, we understand the bread rule, generally, if not the expression literally), Grant’s book includes actual empirical data backing up his thesis. This is not a matter of divine guidance to be taken on faith from an ancient religious text. This biblical advice is borne out by scientific data of success here and now. Scholarly research shows that infusing meaning into your work and sharing your skills, your knowledge, and, really, your powers, with others will cause you to be happier and more successful in ways that matter most.

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