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Why giving could be the answer to your existential crisis
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I'm reading
Why giving could be the answer to your existential crisis
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Why giving could be the answer to your existential crisis
Pass it on
Pass it on
Articles
22 August 2013

Why giving could be the answer to your existential crisis

Can you really keep a steady paying job at the same time as being part of the world’s solutions?

Written by Lyrian Fleming

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.

It was one of the more confronting moments of my life when I realised I’ve got the same 24-hours every day as the Prime Minister, the President of America, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, and, well, Mr Jones next door. The crushing realisation that I get the same amount of time as everybody else was awful. Here are all these people literally changing the world while I was just…working for the man?

Crushing.

Thankfully, I’ve moved on, but not before hours of conversations with anyone within earshot about how grinding traditional full time work was, how pointless it felt being another ‘cog in the wheel’, how frustrating it was not being the change!

I dreamt of throwing it all in and moving to India to find myself, then starting a charity helping poor children, or something. I dreamt up businesses to promote earth-loving sustainable business models. I spent hours reading up on ethics and became vegetarian and even went volunteering overseas for a year taking a massive pay cut. Yep, I did it all.

And yet here I am once again in the 9-5 ‘grind’. Only this time, I feel the grind is working for me. This transformation was in a large part thanks to Peter Singer’s book The Life You Can Save. Here was an ethicist giving me a calculation for how much I can help improve our world. In fact, I could do so much, I could save a life. And all with just one per cent.

It seemed too good to be true. Could I really keep a steady paying job and be part of the world’s solutions? Of course, of course, of course!

With so many social enterprises, charities, crowd funding platforms, progressive aid and development organisations, human rights groups, innovators, social hubs, and communities being established around the world, it has never been easier to be part of the change you want to see.

I have personally taken Peter Singer’s words to heart, and ensure I give away at least one per cent of my wages earned from the ‘daily grind’. In the last year alone I have donated to a charity focused on empowering women living in poverty, helped make a movie in New York, helped get Who Gives A Crap off the ground, lent money to a woman starting her own business in Palestine, and helped launch a philosophy magazine made in Australia for Australians.

Now when I wake up on Monday morning and am staring down the barrel of another week inside the four walls of an office, the same office I will be in the following Monday, and the one after that, I feel grateful. I feel extremely grateful that the security afforded to me by this steady income is helping me be part of so many energising projects in so many spheres.

Giving was the answer to my existential crisis, and it just might be the answer to yours too.

What can you do with your one per cent?

I want more things that inspire me to...

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