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Philanthropy resized 600I recently read Steve Farber’s book Greater than Yourself.  The premise of the book is that it’s a good thing and makes sense to help others become better at things than you are.

When I first heard about this idea I thought that it was a really arrogant way to go around the world.  Here you are telling people that you’re going to make them better than you.  That says two things to me.  First, I’m better than you and second you need help.  Neither I think is a useful thing to do.

Although I found the premise of being better than others distasteful I kept coming back to it.  I was mulling over how I’ve helped people through the years be better than me.  I never told them this was what I was doing.  I never told them they were going to be my project that is unless they were working for me.  At the same time, there are many people I’ve helped become better owners and managers.

Later in the book Steve came up with a brilliant idea.  We should tithe10% of our time making others better than we are.  I like this idea.  I won’t tell people that’s what I’m doing, but it is what I plan to do.

I think the following things will happen as I adopt this mindset:

  • I’ll help the world be a better place.
  • I’ll learn more as I help people be better.
  • I get to expand my skill set with mindful practice.
  • I’ll have to think about what it is that I do well that I can share with others.
  • I’ll get a chance to practice providing good deeds for others without expecting a return from them.


Tithing time to others in the business realm works for me.  If I’m going to make the world a better place, it’s not likely I’ll do through working with non-profits.  Frankly, I’ve found that non-profits often don’t appreciate my style in their organizations and I’m more effective with for profit businesses. 

Letting go of the idea that tithing can only be done in the non-profit world has become liberating.  I’m much better at helping other business owners.  We need businesses that create value and we need owners who are making the world a better place.  If I spend a little bit of my time every week working on this project I believe we all win.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think the world would be better if you spent 10% of your time making the business world a better place to be?  I think the goal of making others better than ourselves is something we can all work on.  We don’t have to reserve this activity just for our children.

For me this concept is a new way to think about philanthropy.  Philanthropic activities are one of the ways you can create value in your and your family’s life.  We’ve put together a Periodic Table of Business Elements where we have some philanthropic strategies you can pursue.  If you’re interested in our Table, click on the button below.

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Topics: value creation, Focus, learning experiences

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