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'Giving Tuesday' Is Really an Excuse for People to Be Completely Selfish

Philanthropists are hoping to make today to goodwill and charity as big as Black Friday is to retailers. You might ask: 'What's in it for me?'.

This morning, as I was emerging from Penn Station on my way to the office, I had an amazing experience. There were two volunteers soliciting money from the Salvation Army, and they were having a blast: singing, dancing, and blasting catchy hip-hop music while ringing their iconic bell.

Just seeing their passion gave me a huge smile from ear, and I wanted that feeling to continue, so I have them some money from my wallet. It was only $5, but for that $5, I walked to work feeling great, and ready to take on my day and the challenges it would bring.

I've written before about how to improve your mood by giving, but it really is a selfish act, if you think about it. For only 5 bucks, I put myself in a great mood, and went on to have a productive morning.

As it turns out, today is "GivingTuesday," and around the world, the United Nations Foundation and thousands of other organizations, as well as individuals ranging from Bill Gates to Charles Best, are encouraging people to give. They may tell you to give because so many organizations need your help--but I say, give because it's selfish. It makes you feel good, which leads to being more passionate and productive in your work.

Around lunchtime, my high from giving money to the Salvation Army started to go away, so I selfishly gave 30 minutes of my time to all of our interns at Likeable, meeting with them and helping guide them in their careers and lives. They appreciated this a lot, and I got that high right back. It turns out, giving doesn't have to mean money--it can mean time--for some, this might be an easier way to get that high.

Just before writing this, I gave again, this time to my public high school and to Donor's Choose, two of my favorite nonprofit organizations. Now, halfway through Giving Tuesday, I'm feeling better than ever before! I'm also ready to deal with angry customers, demanding investors, challenging employees and all of the other issues that come with running a fast-growing startup.

For just a few dollars and a few minutes of my time, I was able to get myself into a mood that people the world over pursue through other means that can cost a lot more money and can have horrible side effects on their health.

So, are you ready to celebrate #GivingTuesday--and every day--by acting selfishly and giving away your time and money? 

Last updated: Dec 3, 2013

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in 2 minutes? Click here.

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