When you wake up in the morning, you look around and you instinctively know that you have a roof over your head, a toothbrush, soap and clean clothes to wear. You are likely to have a mirror in your bathroom so that you can put yourself together before facing the world. Before you go deep into the daily struggle of keeping up with the rat race, you’ve had the chance to boot up your laptop, take a shower and drink a strong cup of exotic coffee or stop by Starbucks or Peet’s for a non-fat latte. That is the morning routine at its finest.
A friend of mine moved away from the Silicon Valley and now expresses such joy that he is no longer part of the this culture of over achievement, long hours and little personal life. He is happier now he says. Many people leave the Valley in the midst of hard hitting economic recessions in search for a life that fits them better. They too drink brewed coffee every morning. They too sleep comfortably at night.
One of those mornings, we were getting ready for the day. My wife was feeding the babies downstairs. Isaac had an appointment with the doctor. Ethan was being himself and eating strawberries or bread, I don’t remember exactly. I was drinking coffee and was trying to match my jeans the proper shoes and shirt.
But that day something happened that changed our world. It hit hard. Tito had died in Colorado. Tito was (and will always be) dear to my wife because she was his adviser in high school. Please visit Tito’s website for more information. The next day I found out that one of my team members in Argentina had passed away as well. Hard weekend to get through. My wife sprung into action, albeit with a broken heart and an unbearable sadness.
Tito’s dreams where tied to the true meaning of the American dream. He was going to be the first to graduate from college in his family. He was an inspiration not only to his friends and family but for the community at large. Furthermore, Tito’s dreams where tied to the hidden community of the Valley. Those folks that are not starting high tech companies but are cleaning them at night. Those folks that regardless of the amount of money they make, they need to give away a great percentage of it to their families so that they can have food in their tables the next morning. They are philanthropists by necessity.
This got me thinking more in depth about how to have a bigger impact in other people’s life’s. What it means for me and how would I do it. So many people want to wait until they are wealthy enough to become philanthropists. However, if you are not used to giving and sharing, by the time you are indeed wealthy enough, your values might change drastically to the point that other people would matter less than your money. In the meantime all the real philanthropists, those who selflessly give their time (and in a lot of cases the little money they make) are picking up the slack. The teachers, the nurses, the immigrant workers. Those who’s work is to give and to provide shelter for the needy. Those that never give with strings attached.
I don’t want to wait to be able to help and you shouldn’t either. Give all the time and give a lot. That is the only way you will have no regrets when you sleep at night. Well, at least not that many.