The Myth of the Right Answer

Sometimes I get a little paranoid about the book I’m working on. It’s built around a 4 step process for giving. By setting out these steps, I feel I’m creating a certain expectation – saying that following them guarantees positive results.

And of course, it doesn’t. The steps are a guideline. I believe they can help people increase their chances of having a successful giving experience, but there’s no way I can guarantee results. It worries me.

But then I realize something – that’s how everything is. You can do everything doctors, fitness experts and nutrition gurus tell you to do and still get sick. You can follow all the advice in business books and not become a captain of industry. On the other hand, you can have every plan you make go sideways and end up with a better marriage, house, job, etc., than you ever imagined!

There are no guarantees. There are no foolproof methods. There’s a lot of good advice and guidelines, but in the end, we each have to create our own version of the best method according to our judgment and our gut.

Unfortunately, a lot of conventional advertising (and fundraising) would have us believe the opposite – that there is a clear-cut formula for perfect hair, healthy families, ending poverty, etc. This is very seductive and very misleading.

But in the end, isn’t it better this way? Wouldn’t you rather figure out your own way to making a difference; as opposed to being locked into the one and only way? Isn’t that how we build on each other’s ideas and experience and never stop finding better and better ways to do things?

For myself, I’ve decided to embrace the complexity and the uncertainty of it; put my ideas out there to be ripped apart and put back together again, as fuel for the neverending conversation about how to do good better.

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