charityOver the last five years or so there has been an incredible amount of giving by more and more people, whether it’s contributing money or time. People are feeling connected and “making a difference." But many are choosing to keep their contributions private. They are modest or they suggest that their donation is too small to be made public or they don’t want to appear to be boasting about what they have done. I think the time has arrived for us to build momentum in a different direction…


For every good deed that you do for someone else, I think it is important to shout it from the rooftops in any forum that you can find.

When you hear of someone else’s good deed, do you hear yourself thinking, “Couldn’t you have done better?” or, “I guess you think you are the top dog now?”

Fear of that kind of reaction prevents many people from proudly stating the things that they are doing to help, regardless of the size of the act.

So, I say, let’s take everything we do for people, from the smallest compliment to the largest donation of time, energy, money and knowledge, and start boasting about it. It’s time that people really started to share what they are doing so that others are encouraged to share also.

madonna in africa Let’s create an environment where all forms of media, TV, radio, print and the Internet, are oozing with stories of contribution and making a difference. Forums like the are perfect places to share your stories. Let’s not be afraid to highlight some contribution, to boast of some deed where you made a difference.

Maybe we could create a place where contributions are captured for all to see and learn from. Maybe here at GNN?

Feeling proud in secret and feeling proud in public create different levels of positive energy. I would suggest the latter is more productive, as the feelings become amplified as you tell the stories of your success. The energy increases exponentially as others get ideas from your success and look for ways to implement variations and improvements. When someone takes an idea that I had and improves it, I say “Yes – way to go!” Everyone wins when such energy is released and not contained.

For example, two weeks ago I wrote a story called, Giving a Break to Hassled Customer Service People. It told my story of observing a gate attendent at an airport who was really getting hassled after people missed their flight during bad weather. I was inspired to get in line along with all the ornery people, even though I didn’t need a ticket, and then when it was my turn, to ask her to enjoy a little break; to remember her goodness; to relax a bit and recover for a minute before returning to the next irate customer in line.

Some people wrote to me and suggested that I was, in fact, bragging and that I should keep such stories to myself. Others critiqued it and said, “Yeah – so what? So you did a nice thing? Big deal.”

If we all follow the model that these writers suggest, then we lose the opportunity to share good ideas with others or we feel afraid to share such things for fear of criticism.

I replied where appropriate, outlining my belief in the reasons for sharing ideas about making a difference.

reverse panhandline The greatest energy, however, was manifest in the number of people who wrote to me, congratulating me on the suggestion and taking it upon themselves to do something of a similar vein within 48 hours. Some of these writers even suggested ways of improving what I did or implementing the idea in a different variation.

To those people, I say, “Bravo – go for it.”

The more we publically share, the more momentum is created for spreading positive energy to everyone around us and the smaller the voice grows for the naysayers who believe that such good works must be kept silent.

Sharing these stories provides more people with the courage and desire to make a difference in their own way, no matter how small.

It is not the size of the gesture that counts – it is the existence of the gesture itself that is important.

I make a point of helping at least 10 people per week with unsolicited contributions of kindness, time, energy or money (whatever is appropriate). I keep a list each week to make sure I am on track to help at least 10. I share these acts with others and encourage you to do the same.

Proudly tell others what you have done. Don’t judge the size of the contribution – just share it. Together, we are all making a difference and driving the envelope of positive, sharing energy to new levels. Take care and be well. Harry

(top photo- Dr. Wentz, an American scientist who donated a medical center and lab in Uganda – read the GNN story)


  1. Recognizing OTHERS Who do the Right Thing
    I could not disagree more with your advice to boast about one’s own actions. Why? Quite simply because it is offensive. Always. In addition, it diminishes the gift, the giver and the recipient.
    On the other hand, shining the light upon the generosity, beneficence and heroism of others is the right thing” to do. Not only is it another form of generosity

  2. I agree with Harry
    The more people hear of the joy we get performing good works, through hearing us tell our tales, the more we give others permission to feel that THEY are worthy of praise when they do good. The more we are proud of our acts and share the excitement, the more we make it okay for others to feel good about themselves, rather than ashamed when they speak of their OWN good.

    It’s like Maryann Williamson says, Who are we NOT to be gorgeous, brillliant, genius?

    …Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light

  3. Responding to Teren
    Hi Teren,

    Thank you for voicing your thoughts. We are blessed to be able to have an open exchange of ideas.

    Your comment I could not disagree more with your advice to boast about one’s own actions. Why? Quite simply because it is offensive.” is an interesting comment.

    If you believe that it is wrong for us to boast about good deeds

  4. Addendum to my note to Teren
    Hi again,

    I did not articulate one of my points well and wanted to add this additional comment.

    If we discourage people from discussing the difference they made but instead encourage them to wait until someone else highlights the act (if they ever find out about it), then the following may happen:

    1. We may never find out (because people are following the humility rule).
    2. We may find out but when we tell that person we are going to highlight them, they play it down because of the humility rule (I shouldn’t brag)
    3. We get into the moral debate of Is this worthy of mentioning – so and so did this”.

    Even if someone brags about it to “toot their own horn”

  5. Responding to Geri & KingHartuk
    Hi, again!
    I am surprised at some of the conclusions which you have arrived at about me, my psyche and the full meaning of my personal philsophy about giving without need of drawing attention to oneself. (After all, I’d like to think it would take more than a few cursory paragraphs to understand me!)

    As space and time are limited let me address the few points I think veered far off of my meaning and intention.

    First and most importantly, I was responding to Turcker’s suggestion to boast about oneself, which I believe to be a far cry from letting others know what you are doing, as Harry suggests and with which I do agree. Generating enthusiasm for something we believe in is not boasting. So, the foundation of my argument pivots upon differences in INTENTION. (And as for references to Don Miguel Ruiz, to follow the very 1st rule of being impeccable with your word” you must understand that words hold power precisely because they FOLLOW intention.)

    I am not

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