I’ve been pondering generosity a lot lately.

There’s a lot going on in the world to make one feel lack. Natural disasters, economic crisis, war, huge accidents resulting in ecological devastation, bank collapses, unemployment threats and spikes due to new unprecedented technologies…

And that was just these last 3 months.

It can be tempting to become stingy in the face of such situations. If we live in a universe of scarcity, then hoarding and stockpiling feels like the logical thing to do.

Generosity flies so much in the face of that.

It’s simultaneously a rejection of scarcity, and an invitation into a reality of abundance.

It strikes me that the kings and rulers of old apparently used to give as many gifts possible, as a way to flex their power and wealth.

The most potent way for them to be able to show their victory over scarcity was to bring those around them into a state of abundance by giving…. by being generous.

The modern reality feels really similar. The business leader who shares all his best insights for free on his blog or podcast is functioning from a place of generosity and abundance. He doesn’t need to give that stuff away for free — he could charge TONs for those insights. But, he gives.

Or professional photographer who has release all of the hundreds of thousands of photos he’s taken under Creative Commons so that his art spreads further and faster, and impacts more people. He’s able to impact more people through extreme generosity (giving it all away for free), than if he charged for everything he did.

Ironically, in both of these instances of extreme generosity, the result for the giver isn’t less, but more.

When we benefit from those podcasts or see those photos, we see just how much is being brought to the table. Trust is built. Opportunities for the giver multiply (business opportunities, networking, and otherwise). Ultimately, the result of such extreme generosity is ironically more abundance for everyone involved.

The very act of defying scarcity by walking self-sacrificially and in extreme generosity results in greater abundance for both the recipient and the giver.

The path of generosity is counter-intuitive, but it’s almost always the best path.