Happiness is giving
WHAT do super-rich personalities like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and local billionaires Henry Sy, Ramon Ang, Lucio Tan and Manny Pacquiao have in common?
They’re very generous givers; they give away vast sums of money to charity.
They have discovered that giving is the true source of happiness.
Jenny Santi’s “The Giving Way to Happiness,” probably the best book even written on philanthropy, gives us the big picture on why generous people are among the happiest in the world.
Santi, a philanthropy advisor based in Singapore, interviewed many billionaires—both high profile and low-key—and conducted extensive research to come up with her book.
Santi is a Filipino who graduated from an exclusive school in Manila and now hobnobs with the rich and famous because of her work as a philanthropy adviser to numerous big companies and wealthy individuals.
Bestselling author Deepak Chopra, who wrote the foreword for Santi’s book, writes why giving is joyful:
“The mystery of giving is revealed only when you crave the ecstasy that has been glimpsed. Then a realization hits you with full force: I must give myself away.”
“Without realizing it, you have been trying to do that all your life. In giving yourself away, you open a conduit for the kind of happiness that no one can ever steal from you,” Chopra says.
His words resound with Cristino “Bong” Naguiat Jr., chair and CEO of the government’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
Naguiat told me why he’s been going to remote areas in the country supervising the building of classrooms, his agency’s pet project: “I feel very good inside when I see the happy faces of children and their parents over the completion of a school in a remote place.”
“Ang sarap tumulong (Helping others gives you a wonderful feeling),” Naguiat said.
I heard the same words from Ramon Ang, president and CEO of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., who described how he felt after sending a construction crew to build houses and roads for victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Eastern Visayas: “The happiness you feel in helping others in their time of need cannot be bought by money.”
World boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, considered the country’s richest legislator, once told a friend he finds more joy giving to the poor than winning over his opponents.
Based on her research and the people she interviewed for her book, Santi says she has found that giving “is a greater pleasure than the creation of wealth, the most direct route to happiness, which neither money nor career or success can provide.”
Giving, she adds, gives life meaning and fulfillment.
“I’d heard their stories of how giving their time, resources and talents to the causes they care about has brought them happiness and fulfillment far greater than they had ever imagined,” she says.
Hans and Tessie Sy-Coson, offsprings of SM mall magnate Henry Sy, lead meaningful and fulfilled lives by giving to the poor.
The Sy family has been compared with the Rockefellers of the United States because of the philanthropic acts of Henry’s children, particularly Hans and Tessie.
Despite his “killer” schedule, cigarette and airline tycoon Lucio Tan spends time nurturing his Tan Yan Kee Foundation which has sent thousands of poor but bright students to college and has helped disaster victims.
Tan’s rival in the tobacco business, the Wongchuking family, helps rebuild old churches, gives scholarships to children of tobacco farmers and helps calamity victims through the Wong Chu King Foundation, named after the late patriarch.
According to Santi, a scientific study concluded that there is a link between happiness and giving.
“Helping others may just be the best-kept secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive and meaningful,” she says.
That’s very true.
Haven’t you noticed a generous person lives longer than a scrooge?