2013  June 7

Generosity as Doing, Not Thinking

From 2011 ... | and from 2016, visit the new

My father never said much to me as I was growing up. He was a doer, more than a thinker. Because my father could only speak Japanese, many people thought I could speak Japanese too. Nope. I could understand a lot though, as he was often giving instructions on what I should do. So if I knew a few spoken words in Japanese as a youth in my “conversations” with my dad it was an obedient, “Yes. I’ll do it.”

There’s one thing I learned from my father, by watching how he’d interact with everyone around him, that had nothing to do with language. Or about thinking. Just doing. And it was doing nice things for other people. He was always someone to go the extra mile for a friend. And he never asked for anything in return. This always struck me as odd -- having observed the world outside of his sphere (ie “the real world”) in comparison year over year growing up -- wondering to myself, “What was dad’s doing ... giving everything he had ... away?”

When we think of strategy, we usually think of managing scarcity. Or, choosing the best outcome among other alternatives. Dad never seemed to act from a position of “strategy” in his business, and in his dealings with non-business friends and people. He seemed fully comfortable giving away whatever he had, and just assuming he would always make more. Of what?

I now realize that he created massive amounts of generosity. If I may be more specific, he inspired me to believe that generosity was something that you *do*, and not something that you think about doing. Otherwise it isn’t being generous at all.

Dad loved the confidence he embodied in himself -- to be generous, for generosity’s sake -- with no particular reason why he *could* be generous at all. He was enigmatic in his ways. Instructive as a doer. Doing is a way of thinking out loud too. That sounds right. Now I get it ... it’s always helpful to think out loud.

Okay, my ten minute doing-as-blogging break is over ... thanks for visiting. -JM

Doing the right thing matters more than thinking the right thing.

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