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One Small Change

A Month of Giving

Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

Since December is the season of giving, this month’s One Small Change—my monthly attempt to make one little, healthy change in my life—is going to involve actually giving away some small change. I’m going to take a portion of the money I receive from writing blogs throughout the year—$2,000 to be exact—and give it away to 40 strangers in $50 increments.

These people will be totally arbitrary; I will not research worthy causes, visit children’s hospitals, hunt down the homeless, or seek personal gain by tipping waiters, store clerks, strippers, or personnel at other places I frequent. (I was kidding about the strippers, dear.) My plan is to always have some fifties in my pocket so when an opportunity arises I’ll be able to practice a little spur-of-the-moment philanthropy.

Now you should understand that I’ve never done anything like this before. Truth be told, I’m a bit of a tightwad. In fact, part of me says this is a stupid idea because I’m a freelance writer with a daughter in college and a battered 401K, which is sort of like walking a tightrope when your pants are on fire. The abyss yawns beneath me daily.

But some part of me also feels I need to do this, to start giving something back. It’s almost like I feel increasingly guilty, as I get older, for being blessed. Some of you might be feeling the same persistent tug—a simple urge to donate time or money that’s unfortunately complicated by not knowing where to start or who to trust. I intend to share some great resources and advice for finding a worthy cause and “giving intelligently,” as it’s called, in later blogs. But my primary focus is going to be my experience as a charity vigilante. What effect will a month of giving have on me?

Indeed I’m wondering if, in some strange way, it might make me more psychologically and even physically fit. We all value mental traits such as confidence and discipline for training and performance, but what does empathy, compassion and just feeling better about yourself hold for an athlete? Is it the antithesis of competitiveness, or does being better connected with your fellow man somehow allow you to access energy and self-assurance you never knew you had? Or does the very act of expecting anything from charity counteract its purity?

I don’t know—yet.

And how will people respond to a stranger giving them a fifty? Have we become so jaded as a society that they’ll assume I want something in return and walk away? Or are times so tough that one “gift” on a busy Sunday at the mall will create a hungry mob?

I don’t know—yet.

So what do you say? Care to join my vigilante gang? You don’t have to hand over two grand. Just give what you can however you can. Who knows? A little effort could be the start of something big.

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About The Author

Joe Kita – Joe Kita is a noted writer, editor, motivational speaker and teacher. He authors the blog "One Small Change" for CorePerformance.com.

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Tags: Goals, Attitude, Health