Have you ever noticed how much you get back by giving? It may be your time, your talent, your money or just your full attention when listening to another person talk.

Philanthropy really means the love of humankind, and so when we show our love through our deeds, we are being pragmatic about how we want others to receive us. And in doing so it brings joy back to us. De Tocqueville, called this “Self-interest rightly understood,” in his 1835 book, Democracy in America.

It is a unique American tradition to look out for our neighbor and thus hope they will look out for us when we are in need. There is nothing altruistic about the quid-pro-quot. It just makes good sense and also makes us feel good knowing we have resources to help someone else in the community

Imagine if everyone had “self-interest rightly understood!” We would have more harmony, justice and compassion in our everyday lives. Why not try it for yourself: Take five minutes and pay attention to the next person you meet and give of yourself and see what you receive. It may change your life.