I recently read a wonderful, thought-provoking op-ed piece by Nicholas Kristof. In this piece he writes about our intrinsic inclination to give of ourselves to others. Apparently giving lights up the same pleasure receptors in our brain activated by eating or having sex.
I agree with Mr. Kristof about the value of giving. But I’d add another item to the list of benefits reaped from alturism: connection.
My oldest daughter Alessandra recently told me about a shoestring fundraiser her friends organized to help the people of Haiti. They decided to walk the length of Manhattan (15 miles) and sent out emails to people they knew asking for pledges per mile. Alessandra’s friend told her that their walk was unexpectedly beautiful, allowing them to interact and connect with all different kinds of people as they walked through the city that day.
Rallying people to gather and connect for the sake of a greater good is one of the best ways you can take part in your community and connect. You help others, connect with people in the process, and, as Mr. Kristof points out, feel great afterwards.
*photo courtesy of nephos