Do it. But don't you dare talk about it

Go ahead and post a picture of your Movember moustache.

Good on you. And if you’re thinking about doing a charity run, we’d love to hear how much you raise.

But if it’s a financial donation you’re making,

You keep that to yourself. Remember that your sacrifice is only noble so long as you keep quiet about it.

That’s the unspoken rule.

We reserve a special place in hell for people who dare to talk about their good deeds.

It’s just one multiple pervasive views that are likely preventing more good from being done in the world:

  • “Donating is a waste. It never gets to those who need it anyway.”
  • “Shame on any charity’s CEO who takes a large salary.”


We’ve created two extremes.

We won’t accept the person claiming to believe in eradicating poverty if they also drive an Audi. If they were the real deal, they’d buy a second-hand Corolla and throw an extra $100,000 at the cause.

It’s black and white.

You’re either the in-it-for-yourself hustler or the austere, selfless monk. Which one are you?

Most of us would prefer to be somewhere in between, and thankfully, a group called Giving What We Can is making that possible. Their philosophy is called Earning to Give, and it blew my mind when I heard about it on Sam Harris’s podcast.

Sam announced at the start of the episode that he had signed a public pledge to donate 10% of his income to charity, every year for the rest of his life.

When I heard it, I didn’t think “Sam, you dick. Nobody needs to hear how generous you are”.

Instead, I thought, “Whoa. I respect this guy even more. I wish I could be like that.”

Which inspired me to sign, too:

Here’s what makes donating 10% such a clever idea:

  • Most people can give 10% without changing their existing quality of life
  • Being a percentage of income, it doesn’t limit the ability to earn more. In fact, it incentivises earning more


“But barely any of the donated money actually gets to who it’s intended for, anyway.”

Not this time. Giving What We Can is a branch of an organisation called Effective Altruism. For years, they have been actively vetting charities and uncovering which ones provide the best impact-per-dollar invested.

Pledge signers can either choose from the buffet of Effective Altruism-approved charities or pick their own.

This is a new way to think about work and life.

After pledging, working towards your own financial freedom directly helps people who were born with a tougher roll of the dice. Have you ever heard of a better reason to chase your dream?

You can learn all about it over here: www.givingwhatwecan.org

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