How to solve 2 of the big problems
I think I know how to solve many of the problems that we are inheriting. In fact, I think it’s relatively simple.
First let’s look at two of the bigger problems.
Poverty: many people around the world lack the material goods needed to create a stable life. These things include food, water, health care, education, shelter, tools, clothing, and perhaps a bit of entertainment. When I pay careful attention to my neighbors locally and globally I’m shocked by how many people lack the bare necessities.
Poverty is a problem of the material realm. Since we, as a planet, produce way more stuff than we actually need (none of us need an iPhone 5, a television, a fancy car, or a dinner out) poverty stems from the unequal distribution of finite resources.
We see poverty both locally and globally. In a world of abundance, this should never happen.
Misery: many of the people around the world possess all of the material things they need, and then some, but are still very unhappy. They struggle to find self-worth, meaning, joy, and a sense of contentment. When I pay careful attention to my neighbors locally and globally I’m shocked by how sad and lonely many people have become.
Enduring misery, apathy, and meaninglessness, when experienced by individuals who possess everything needed to create a stable life, is generally the result of some form of emotional deprivation. Sometimes it comes from the false belief that accumulating more stuff will finally bring happiness. Other times it comes from being disconnected from yourself and the people around you. Often it is the result of both.
Very simply, many people lack joy and meaning while many others lack material goods. Some lack both. These problems are particularly toxic because they often breed additional problems like theft, violence, depression, prejudice, extreme inequality, etc.
I believe the solution to these problems rests in their own the paradox: if people become more generous with their resources these problems will begin to solve themselves.
With increased generosity from those who have more than they need, the people lacking the things required for a stable life will gain them.
The subtle part is that meaning, happiness, and connection are often found by taking responsibility for yourself and helping the less fortunate people around you by increasing your generosity. Helping others is how we make our life count. In other words, happiness can be found by becoming more generous.
We need to give more of our stuff – our time, our money, our resources – to those who don’t have enough. This will create stronger connections, more happiness, more equality, and a better world.
What can you do to solve the world’s problems and increase your generosity?
Start small and spread the word. Increase your generosity just a bit. Little things count. Once a month, instead of going out for dinner and drinks, stay in and donate the money you would have spent. Once a month, instead of watching TV for three hours on the weekend, volunteer with a local charity. Once a month instead of walking by the homeless people in your neighborhood, bring them a sandwich and a cup of coffee. And amplify your efforts by getting your friends, family, and neighbors to follow your lead.
One solution to solving many of the problems we are inheriting, particularly those of poverty and misery, is simply to increase our generosity.
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