Generosity has inertia

Inertia is the resistance of any object to a change in its motion or direction. How does generosity have inertia?

Giving, especially giving sacrificially, is hard to start doing. We tend to think of our things as, well, ours. We earned it and we get to keep it. Other people didn’t earn it for us.

Giving that first dollar or that first hour to someone who needs help is tough because it goes against the grain of how we are wired. We’ve been trained to live in a mindset of scarcity, always assuming that what we have is not enough and certainly never thinking that we have some to spare for someone else.

But the amazing thing about being generous is that when you start, it’s hard to stop. It’s a snowball effect. That first dollar turns into ten dollars. That first hour turns into ten hours. And the dollars and the hours begin to feel bottomless.

Generosity gains momentum on its own. Put another way, being generous creates more generosity in you and in others.



Andrew Weissman on services like Khan Academy and Quizlet, which allow users to learn morsels of information at their own pace:

At a specific level, they each work in a way that is consistent with how people think and, 20 years into the web, desire to find information. For example, someone may think to herself, “I forget how to subtract fractions.” They then conduct a search for it, and Khan delivers a 4 minute video lesson. The whole process may take 5 minutes and is hardly interruptive.

This really resonates with me. When I think about how I learn and more importantly, re-learn, things now, it’s mainly through a quick Google search. I’m not saying it’s a better or worse way to learn, it’s just different. And it’s the way a lot of people gain (and, again, re-learn) knowledge now.

Something about this also reminds me a bit of the brain uploads in The Matrix.

Stack Overflow feels a bit like this. One moment, I don’t know how to remove duplicates from an array in Ruby. The next moment, I do.

I was a die-hard optimist when I was growing up. I got burned by people a bunch of times because I assumed the best in them, no matter if the evidence of their character or integrity was contrary. My mom taught me to give people the benefit of the doubt.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve become more cynical as I grow older. I’m less trusting and more leery. It takes a conscious effort to trust people now. It’s no longer automatic and that’s ok with me.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love takes conscious, intentional effort.