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Go For It: Acting on Impulse

Journalist and writer Oliver Burkeman shares a strategy for generosity he learned from meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein.

Scrabble pieces spelling out: Go for it

"Whenever a generous impulse arises in your mind – to give money, check in on a friend, send an email praising someone's work – act on the impulse right away, rather than putting it off until later.

When we fail to act on such urges, it's rarely out of mean-spiritedness, or because we have second thoughts about whether the prospective recipient deserves it. More often, it's because of some attitude stemming from our efforts to feel in control of our time. We tell ourselves we'll turn to it when our urgent work is out of the way, or when we have enough spare time to do it really well; or that we ought first to spend a bit longer researching the best recipients for our charitable donations before making any, et cetera.

But the only donations that count are the ones you actually get around to making. And while your colleague might appreciate a nicely worded message of praise more than a hastily worded one, the latter is vastly preferable to what's truly most likely to happen if you put it off, which is that you'll never get around to sending that message."


The Power of Kindness: Contributing to making the world a better place. Watch this little video to discover the extraordinary power of kindness - for both the giver and the recipient.


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