[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oftICP0JQw8?rel=0]

After not feeling right about declining to give money to a homeless man on the subway, Sasha Dichter started a generosity experiment. According to Sasha:

For a period of time, when I’m asked to give, [I must] say yes.  To everything.  To emails and people on the street and friends raising money.  Everyone.  I think it will be good practice.

This noble experiment has since evolved into Generosity Day, a sweeter flavor of Valentine’s Day.

We’re rebooting Valentine’s Day as Generosity Day: one day of sharing love with everyone, of being generous to everyone, to see how it feels and to practice saying “Yes.” Let’s make the day about love, action and human connection – because we can do better than smarmy greeting cards, overpriced roses, and stressed-out couples trying to create romantic meals on the fly.

Can you imagine a world where everyone behaved like this? What if this behavior was perpetual and people acted like this on a regular basis? That’s the kind of world I want to live in. All change starts from one person looking within themselves; you can’t change the world or anything around you if you haven’t changed yourself. Don’t be shy, go ahead and participate in Generosity Day this year; make your pledge to say yes. By practicing generosity, you can ingrain this universal virtue into your life and see how great you feel by giving to others. Share this with you friends and witness the joy it brings to their lives.

What if companies were genuinely generous?  Businesses across the board, from local shops to mega corporations, are getting on the good bandwagon. This is encouraging, but one can’t help but ponder intentions. There’s lots of good-hearted brands where generosity is core to their DNA. Unfortunately, there’s many more dubious claims about social and do-good initiatives from companies that are trying to take advantage of cause-marketing tactics, but forgot to be real and genuine along the way. Why can’t businesses do good simply because it’s the right thing to do? Why can’t they forget about making a buck for a second and remind themselves that there’s more to life and to doing business than maximizing shareholder value? We have high expectations and are working on identifying businesses to join the buy positively movement who have genuine generosity built into their core.