Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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The Crux of Generosity

Image of a hand handing over a bundle of keys to another.
The Mindset Series: Episode 7


Last week, we explored the beautiful mindset of love in The Most Powerful Mindset. Today, we will delve into a closely aligned one: Generosity! As love is the key that unlocks the heart, one might contend that loving another is the most generous thing one can do. But what exactly does generosity mean?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, generosity is liberal in giving. – Sounds simple enough, but grasping the true meaning is not so easy, so let’s make it more palpable:
When you think of generosity, what comes to mind? Do you think of a particular person? If so, why? Was it something they said or did?

In the past, when I thought of a generous person, I always thought of one who gave abundantly. But over the years, as I met and heard of many who gave large amounts, I began to ponder the difference between giving and being generous. Additionally, I realized that the value of generosity often has little to do with how much one gives but rather the impact one makes. – And fully measuring impact is not so easy!
As a result, currently, a word I do not associate with generosity is abundance. – This might surprise you as many refer to one who gives plenty as one who is generous. Or an abundant amount as a generous amount. However, today, when I think of the word generous, the phrase that fills my thoughts is not giving a large amount but sharing selflessly with a pure motive.
Let me share more…

Giving and Generosity

Often, when people give, we categorize their deeds as generous or ungenerous based on our estimates. When we catch wind of a random person who donated 900 dollars to a food bank during a snowstorm, many conclude they are generous. But tomorrow, if we learn that the individual has a net worth of 500 million dollars, suddenly, on social media and print media, they are portrayed as an uncharitable figure! What changed?
Or consider another perspective: If Jeff Bezos, the second wealthiest man on earth, donates $500,000 to a local homeless shelter, given his net worth, it might be no skin off his back. But to the shelter, it is an abundant sum! Conversely, when a single mother of 3 kids struggling to make ends meet volunteers for 3 hours at the same shelter, her deeds might be relatively inconsequential to the shelter but are a monumental sacrifice to her.

In the above instances, one cannot conclude that Jeff Bezos is more generous than the woman, even though there is no comparison in the amounts each gave. – This points to the relative nature of abundance, and when we define generosity based on a set amount and ignore means and intent, we miss the mark!

As we know, being the highest donor is not synonymous with being the most generous. –  As the highest donor is the one who gave the highest amount, but giving plenty does not speak to motive or sacrifice.
Now, you may be thinking: Aké, I get the point about motives because when I give even the smallest amount if someone says I am not generous, I lose it! They are not in my heart, so how can they say that?? But how can we tell when one is being generous?

The Crux of Generosity


When we think of a generous deed, we fixate on what or how much one gave. While both are meaningful, the crux of generosity is why one gave, and the best determinator is the giver. To determine whether we are being generous, we can start by asking ourselves a simple question: Why am I doing what I am doing?
Importantly, as we ponder this matter, we aim to know whether strings are attached to our good deeds, such as a desire for recognition, admiration, or prestige.

Of all the mindsets, generosity is the most difficult to ascertain because the heart is the true judge. Furthermore, at the onset, only our heart knows when our good deeds are tied to strings or have a price tag. For this reason, cultivating a generous mindset requires one to assume two roles simultaneously for oneself: spirited cheerleader and impartial judge. 

Expectedly, you may be wondering how this would apply professionally.

Generosity at work

Whether working from home or in an office building, there are multiple opportunities to be generous, such as rendering your time and skills to help a coworker complete a project without insisting on adding your name to the cover page. Or making vital introductions for a new employee without ensuring your team leader hears about it. 😊Generosity is always a matter of the heart. Therefore, the capable judge of whether one is generous is oneself – unless one cannot discern the inner workings.

Friend, as we proceed in the month of love, I leave you with this: If your heart is inclined to give, give with no price tag. And if you desire to help another, help them with no strings attached. The choice is always ours.

Until next time! 

For you and to you,


Image credit: Pexels | Alena Darmel



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