Giving and Receiving by Jim Stovall

Giving is the most misunderstood and complicated interaction that we face. Whether it’s giving our time, our effort, or our money, it’s hard to do the right thing for the right reason. There are certainly many needs in our own communities and around the world. We need to take some responsibility to find the appropriate place where we can make a true difference for other people.

At the same time, we each have a need to become a giver. This is the complicated part of the formula because it requires us to fulfill a need in our own life while addressing the needs of other people.

My friend and mentor Coach John Wooden often said, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

Coach Wooden was a part of many public acts of charity, but he also engaged in much discreet and private philanthropy. He knew that when you receive fame, honor, or recognition as a result of your gift, it is difficult to keep your motives pure and your need to be a giver in focus.

There is certainly nothing wrong with public gifts. They encourage others to become givers while allowing individuals or organizations to justify larger donations. If a business knows they will be publicly recognized for an act of charity, they may be able to justify part of the gift as a promotional or business development effort.

While all these factors come into play, I think we must constantly engage in pure acts of giving. These involve no expectation or reciprocation. It may be as simple as giving a compliment, holding a door open, or tipping generously.

Giving is as much about the motive as it is about the gift itself. There can be a number of valid motives for giving just as there can be numerous types of gifts. This is such an important part of our lives that I believe you should have a plan for giving your money and giving your time.

As in most areas of life, if we don’t create a plan to succeed, we have — by default — created a plan to fail. Too many people relegate thoughts of giving to extra time and extra money they may have left over at the end of the month or year. We live in a world where very few people have any uncommitted time or money; therefore, in order to be a giver, you must commit to doing it on purpose.

As you go through your day today, remember: There are people who need the things you can give, and you need to be a giver.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by e-mail at or by visiting

Key points: Here’s a quote which stood out in my mind from the above article: “If we don’t create a plan to succeed, we have — by default — created a plan to fail.”

-What was your biggest takeaway from the above article?