Expanding Wave of Generosity

Generosity is like the ripple of a stone thrown into a pond...

There are big problems in the world, including natural disasters, droughts, floods, famines, and earthquakes, as well as suffering arising due to lack of education and tools. In such situations, there are many people who need help, and it seems like one person can't do much to help.

Consider, however, the effect of a small donation that rescues just one person. That person will now have the capability to help others, which capability otherwise would have been lost. Moreover, he (or she) will have felt the benefit of generosity. His gratitude for the person who helped him may influence his own ideals, so that he seeks to emulate that kindness. Therefore, he will be more inclined to help other people as soon as he is able.

Your gift is like the stone hitting the pond, and the small splash it makes represents the immediate benefit to someone. But spreading out from the splash is an expanding circle that reaches people far beyond the initial contact.

Image borrowed from poem, I dropped a pebble in a pond

Suppose the person you helped subsequently rescues two other people. Then each of them rescues two others. Beyond the initial beneficiary, the total helped is now is four, but each of them rescue two people, bringing that total to eight. Then each of those rescue two people, for a total of sixteen. And as the circle expands there are 32 people helped, then 64, then 128, then 256, then 1024... And without your help none of this might have happened.

If you give a gift to someone who is appreciative, you get the biggest impact for your gift (as compared to giving to someone who is not very appreciative) because the generosity spreads faster. To give strategically, the giver will find that generous people are the most worthy. This is something to keep in mind both as a donor and as a potential recipient.


To plan generosity, you need to determine your surplus time and money, so that you can devote some of it. Read more about generosity.

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