Former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir said, “You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist. ”
The fist is the international sign of anger or of a closed spirit. The open hand is a gesture of invitation and acceptance. I often see the closed fist in the area of money: a fistful of dollars tightly held so that those precious dollars never get away. Some people think if they clutch those dollars tightly enough, never giving, they are on the path to wealth. The real world teaches that the opposite is true.
The idea of holding money with an open hand might seem to violate common sense. We feel that if we don’t hold on tightly to our money and our relationships, they will slip away. I’m not saying literally hold your money with an open hand – it represents our attitude toward money. When you give, you open yourself up. You allow the dollars to leave and the freedom to enter.
Giving works because it is in your personal blueprint to be a giver, and you unleash good things in your life that you will never see until you learn the art of unselfish giving. Giving lifts us out of ourselves; we take our eyes off our rights, our problems, and our stuff. The new view gives us renewed vision and hope. Giving is powerful.
You don’t have money to give. Go to your local homeless shelter and serve food. Then sit at the table and eat with the men and women you have served. Take your spouse and your kids with you; it will do the family good to reset their view of reality. Go to a nursing home and read to the elderly for an afternoon. Help someone change a tire. It is easy to find people with real problems when you simply look. When you give of yourself, you can’t help but be lifted up and energized to fight your own problems. Your own problems are easier to fight through when you realize how small they really are in comparison to what others face.
The happiest and most joyful people are those who give money and serve. It seems contrary to everything our culture screams at us, but look at the culture’s track record: suicide, bankruptcy, divorce, murder. We aren’t very happy. True joy comes from serving. Mentally, emotionally, financially and spiritually balanced people have learned the value of giving. Seek out some opportunities to give and serve throughout the year. You’ll be the better for it.
Dave Ramsey is a personal money management expert, an extremely popular national radio personality and best-selling author of The Total Money Makeover. Dave is changing the face of America by helping people get out of debt and build wealth. Ramsey exemplifies his life's work of teaching others how to be financially responsible, so they can acquire enough wealth to take care of loved ones, live prosperously into old age, and give generously to others. Find out more of what Dave has to say about giving .