“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth”

  • Muhammad Ali

Reflecting on the act of giving has taught me to understand and appreciate its importance. It is important not only on the receiver of such acts but also the giver.

The above quote by the iconic American heavyweight boxing champion and renowned civil rights activist, Muhammad Ali, sheds light on the inherent nature of giving, particularly of being of ‘service to others’. Our service can be seen as a payment we give to those less fortunate than us. We aim to provide a helping hand to those who need it regardless of who they are, where they hail from or the time and place at which they need help. But what is the significance of this “rent”? I like to believe the meaning is deeper than a simple materialistic gain.

What is giving?

The act of giving allows us to express our gratitude for the things we have and, as a result, become more grateful. Desiring more than you have is a longing within most of us, but in many cases, it is never really fulfilled. You can acquire as many assets as you like but you may never be truly happy until you love what you already possess. This doesn’t just have to be physical possessions, but also: health, happiness, peacefulness and being of sound mind. Being grateful starts by giving back.

When you think about giving, my advice would be… don’t! Don’t think about it, just do it. And I can say, speaking from experience, the sense of gratitude you get will be unparalleled. This gratitude not only comes from those you give to but from within yourself as well. It will help you to become grateful for the things you may not realise you take for granted. I only hope this will inspire you to give more.

What can we give?

There’s the obvious stuff like donations of money, food or clothes but don’t tie yourself down to just these materialistic actions. The simple act of smiling to someone, giving your time to those you haven’t seen in awhile or cheering up someone who has been down lately all counts. Alternatively, get involved in volunteering either at home or through the Volunteer Hub in Manchester.

The connections you make, the differences you see within others and yourself will bring profound happiness for you and all those you give to. You will become inspired and grateful by the act of giving. And you’ll certainly sow the seed of ‘giving’ in the people you meet on your journey too!