Unleashing Latent Energy of Generosity
Image by artist Mugur Kreiss
In 2007, Brian received an email from his roommate, Joe. The two were young designers living in San Francisco and trying to make rent. There was a big conference for designers coming into town, and Joe knew there would be a shortage of hotel rooms. His idea was to buy three air mattresses, put them up in their loft, offer breakfast and free wifi and let designers attending the conference stay with them for a small nightly fee. Twelve years later, Airbnb is a $25 billion company.
Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky defined the lowest abstraction (the need for rent money and the need for places to stay), latent energy was discovered, and once unleashed, abundance resulted.
What does this have to do with generosity? It occurs to me …
The Most Powerful and Underrated Form of Generosity
Last week my friend Rick asked me to lead a conversation about generosity with his company’s general managers from across the globe who were in town doing some planning. So, one evening after dinner the fifteen of us talked about gratitude. We allowed stories about people to whom we owed a debt of gratitude. I was struck when over half the group said, without hesitation, that their spouse is the person to whom they were most grateful. It seems that when we expose our vulnerability to someone so close, they in turn give generously of themselves.
This act of simply contributing to the well-being of another is the most powerful and underrated form of generosity. No money is given, no volunteer hours recorded.
Another person recounted the story of his grandfather. As the …