Do This to Get Everything You Want in Life

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I spent the weekend listening to the silky smooth Rat Pack Christmas Album over and over. It is the perfect soundtrack for the most wonderful time of the year.

I love the feeling of anticipation in the air and the magic in the eyes of children on the Night Before Christmas. I love that there are so many creatures stirring, hurriedly finishing their shopping in time to place presents under the tree with care. I love the thrill of expectation in kids from one to ninety-two, tiny tots and old men alike with their eyes all aglow, finding it hard to sleep at night. I suppose if Christmas came more than once per year that feeling would be diminished, but oh how I wish I could bottle it to enjoy on a hot muggy August day when sitting in a traffic jam.

Last Christmas did not disappoint. It was our family’s first at my mother’s new house after having spent the last 40 years celebrating out on the old Ballantyne farm. We sat down to a wonderful dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Eve and then settled in for Christmas snacking, holiday movies, the final wrapping of gifts, and making phone calls to friends and family near and far.

Having grown older, Christmas morning is now anti-climactic. Gone are the days of waking up before dawn to sneak down to the Christmas tree and wait…and wait…and wait until Mom and Dad got up. Nowadays we don’t check the tree until mid- or late-morning, almost as an afterthought of, “Oh yeah, we better exchange gifts before we start eating again”.

But there was something extra special about last year’s Christmas…

Last year was the year that I had big breakthroughs in mindset about giving. I spent more time with the most generous people I know (my friends Matt, Joel, Porter, and Bedros), and their influence rubbed off on me. I was no longer suffered from being penny wise and pound foolish in my decisions. I had learned to give generously, and to realize that you can never give so much that it hurts. It was one of the many reasons that we were able to buy so many toys in our annual Toys for Tots charity drive. Last year was also the year that I worked harder than ever in my businesses to create memorable, shareable products and free content.

I spent more hours in front of the camera filming and brought more energy to every video. I studied speaker after speaker, from business professionals to stand-up comedians, to see how they entertained and informed their audiences. As a result, our products sold better, and we reached many more readers. Giving more brought us more.

Likewise, I held nothing back and revealed even more deeply personal lessons from my life in our daily essays at EarlyToRise.com. I spent more time improving my coaching program, and I went all out in creating our greatest event ever at last June’s Turbulence Training Summit. I even flew out my sister to be in the audience (and just wait till you see what we have planned for next year when we’ll celebrate my 40th birthday at the event). By giving more, we received more. My seminars were rated higher, audience engagement went up, and we expect to double the number of attendees again in the new year.

The spirit of giving continued at Christmas. 

I spent more time than ever shopping for my friends and family this year. I sent out over 65 handwritten Christmas cards, this in addition to the over one hundred hand-written thank you cards I had sent to friends, family, and work colleagues since beginning my daily Thank You Therapy habit in early summer (read about that habit here). I simply gave more than ever and a big smile crosses my face with each card dropped in the mailbox.

It is because of this giving that I received so much in return, from the volume of life-changing entries in our Transformation Contests to the number of presents under the tree this year with my name on it, and even to the amount of money we raised for our Early To Rise Toys for Tots drive this December. I apologize if this sounds selfish, but I received so much this year because when you give, give, and give, the Universe can’t help but respond by giving back to you in return.

“Oh here we go,” you might be thinking. “Craig is going all ‘woo-woo’ on us. Just stick to the business advice, buddy,” you say.

It might sound hokey, but I urge you to try it. Designate 2015 as your Year of Giving Generously.

The most successful people I know are the most generous. From my business partners, Matt Smith and Bedros Keuilian, to my friends Joel Marion and Porter Stansberry, they are true givers. They give more than they take, with no expectation of getting anything in return. It’s no surprise to me that these four gentlemen all run the fastest-growing and most profitable businesses I know.

Giving is also the focus of TED speaker and NY Times best-selling author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Adam Grant. The youngest-ever tenured professor at the Wharton School of Business, Grant writes, “If you decide to shift in the giver direction, my favorite strategy is what one of America’s top networkers calls the five-minute favor. The key is to look for ways to help others… It might be making an introduction between two people who could benefit from knowing each other, sharing an interesting article, or offering to provide advice or feedback. If you choose a form of helping that you find enjoyable and meaningful, it might even boost your mood and energy.”

Every one of us has something more that we can give. It might be money or time. Or it might be that you might have more love, more energy, more wisdom, or more experience that you can share with the world. You might be the person who simply knows the right thing to say at the right time. Maybe you’re the person that can shoulder the load when everyone else is collapsing around you.

Whatever it is that you are blessed with, give it away this year. Give until you think that you can’t give any more. It will all come back to you, and more, many fold.

“If you want to be given everything, give everything up,” instructs the Ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching.

But do not give with a greedy mindset. Do not give thinking only about what is in it for you. Don’t just give to get or take. Don’t do it for the material rewards. Don’t do it for how great you will feel during and after. Give because it is good. Give because you can.

Trying to ‘out-give the Universe’ allowed me to have my greatest year ever in both my personal and professional life. I dropped my guard a little, gave more of myself, and it’s resulted in deeper friendships, better – and exponentially less stressful – family relationships. Just imagine what this approach can do for you.

2015 will be your best year ever if you make it a Year of Giving. You can be a coach or a mentor, you can become a better influencer and speaker, you can help more people make big changes in their lives, and it all starts with giving more of yourself.

If we are all a little more generous in 2015, the world will, of course, be a better place. And if you make it your goal to be a lot more generous, I can assure you that your world will change for the better, and that this year you will receive more than ever. That’s the way it works, my friend, so give your gifts today.

What can you give more of to the world in 2015?

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with research of proven methods in your career, in your business and in your personal life. He has created a unique system to show gratitude and appreciation to stay on track for these goals each and every day. Click here to follow the exact 5-minute system you can use to improve your life.]

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  • Vishal

    Superb.. loved it so much 🙂

  • Daniel Razowsky

    I didn’t really have a new years resolution, but this is a great one! I like your other one such as do unto others!

    • ttcert

      Awesome Daniel, keep up the great work in 2014!

  • ttcert

    Thanks Vishal, greatly appreciated!

  • Elaine Marlowe

    I remember reading an article about Elvis Presley many years ago. He said the more he gave the more he got. Of course he would give his friends cars and such. I agree with you Craig but not only do you get back but the feeling of giving and helping someone is so powerful. Have a healthy and prosperous New Year everyone.

    • ttcert

      cool story about Elvis, thank you Elaine

  • Matt

    Thank you Craig! I am truly motivated by your genuine and inspiring writing. Your honesty is evident, your passion is contagious, and you certainly give unconditionally. Thank you again, I look forward to reading more. All the best to you in 2014!

    Kind Regards,
    Matt

    • ttcert

      Thank you Matt, really appreciate it. – Craig

  • Shari

    What a wonderful idea, a theme for the year! Thank you for inspiring me to see that giving is the best plan for using the gifts we all have!

    • ttcert

      Theme for the year, indeed. Keep up the great work (of giving).

  • Gustavo Roselló

    Thank you Craig I stepped in a new way of life, you are still being the most influence person for me. Big changes have been done since I knew you and your crew, and deeply believe they”ll be more on this year.
    I already wrote my plan for this yaer and TT is in the first place, see ya in the next TT summit.
    Have a great 2014. (shure you will)

    • ttcert

      Awesome, great to hear about your progress!

  • Katie O’Dwyer

    This is the only way to live! Thanks for the reminder, I often tell my children this, it was a great read to be reminded myself. “Do to others as you would have done to you”.
    Giving of my time, talents and resources is how I believe we are to live. It takes the focus off of ME and puts it on others.
    THANK YOU for your writings that challenges me to live better.

    • ttcert

      Thank you Katie, keep up the great living!

  • Karen

    I want to be a giver of encouragement this year. I want to encourage people to live their dreams, to dream big and go for them.

  • Stanil Dobrev

    A great advice, perfectly on time!
    This is what actually I was planning to do this year… give all I can to the people that need it. Starting with some coaching and training, then creating some more tools and even writing a book.
    Thanks Craig for everything you give! I enjoy and find very valuable every single peace of the ETR newsletter and the FIM issues.

    • ttcert

      Thank you so much, I really appreciate the kind feedback! Keep on pushing on.

  • helen

    What a beautiful blog. You are already SO GENEROUS with all the free everyday ETR folksy blogs., the discounts you offer (today, almost half off TT course, which I joined) All the great articles here, all your encouragements on the different sites, the Master Mind and hot seats, what do you not give? And you make it possible for us to afford it. THANK YOU. THANK YOU CRAIG, FOR ALL YOU DO FOR US…WE LOVE YOU!!
    Being on the Transformation contest, and staying with it, every day until it ended…CHANGED MY LIFE. Staying in the TC website until recently, really sealed us into A LIFETIME of transformation. Some of us created a new everyday accountibility and goal site, so we will continue, I have heard from MANY that were in the last TC contest, how much they progressed, because of it. Am ready for more advanced information!! THANK YOU for having the TC contest, it not only SAVED MY LIFE…but has put me in the place where I BELIEVE I can MANIFEST whatever I want.

    • ttcert

      Awesome, keep up the great work and Live by Example. Change your life, change the world!

  • ttcert

    Yes Karen, you can do it!

  • Virginia

    Craig – your writing this year has shown so much more freedom and depth. You totally demonstrate by example better ways of living. Generosity is so key to a good life – thanks for the reminder. This coming year I am finally going to ‘shine my star’ in a variety of endeavors.

    • Wonderful, Virginia! Thank you for your kind words. – Craig