Friday reflections on another week of Generous Matters

Low-balling happiness: If you’re working harder, enjoying it less, and still finding yourself pressed for cash, Fast Company blogger Cali Williams Yost recommends Laura Vanderkam’s new book, All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending (Portfolio, 2012).

From the book, via the blogger, here’s a preview of advice  waiting for you.

  • Be more mindful about what your money could buy. Make purchases that improve your happiness.  For many, that means spending on experiences, not things. 
  • Challenge the big house, big yard, two car “American dream.” Studies show that none of these increase happiness.
  • Don’t just scrimp and save. Find ways to increase your earnings. Vanderkam calls it the “1099 mindset.” Think about work the way freelancers or contract workers–people who get 1099s–do.
  • Rethink retirement. In other words, don’t expect to ever retire. Instead, embrace a second or “encore” career that provides significance as well as security.

Imagine all the debtors: Here’s a challenging thought from the editor of Insights on Faith & Giving.

What if we made 2012 a Year of Jubilee? What might Jubilee look like and how might it be put to practice? Three heretical ideas tease my imagination: 1)Cancel all interest payments on existing debts. 2) Negotiate a reduction of underwater mortgage principals. 3) Allow creditors to write off forgiven debts as charitable deductions.

Historically, charity was focused on addressing issues of poverty and classic philanthropy had to do with the practice of good deeds for the flourishing of humanity. I think these actions fit that bill, don’t you?

Well-being without borders: This just in from the Gallup Management Journal. Pollsters have uncovered common elements of well-being that transcend countries and cultures. The five broad categories are (drum roll, please):

  • Career well-being: how you occupy your time, or simply liking what you do every day
  • Social well-being: having strong relationships and love in your life
  • Financial well-being: effectively managing your economic life
  • Physical well-being: having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis
  • Community well-being: the sense of engagement you have with the area where you live

Now a shout out to John Mitchell, whose comment in response to the Gallup essay correlates the five areas to the life of faith. He writes:

At least in the Christian worldview, the 5 factors listed by Gallup can be correlated to one’s spiritual life, I believe; here’s how. “Career” correlates to the vocational call to which one has been drawn. “Social” correlates to how one lives out love for God and love for other people. “Financial” correlates to how one stewards one’s wealth to God’s glory. “Physical” correlates to how one cares for oneself so as to be available for God’s work. “Community” correlates to how one participates in the life of one’s local church and in the worldwide body of Christ.

If these correlations are valid, we should be able to experience a balanced sense of work and personal life by ensuring that the out working of our spiritual and religious life encompasses each of these factors. And if we feel somehow “out of balance”, reflective and prayerful consideration of our life in these 5 categories.

What's your take on this topic?

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