I stayed at a $5M home for 2 weeks.

“When you stay at another mans home, leave it better than you found it”

I read that somewhere 15 years ago in one of those cheesy coffee-table books.

12 year-old-me thought “Y, that’s too much work!”

But 27-year-old-me today knows it’s a good thing to live by.

Over the holiday weekend, a good friend of mine (and very.. very.. successful biz owner) entrusted me to take care of their beautiful home at the edge of the city.

They only asked that I feed the pets, but I decided to go all in.

I noticed there’s a certain pleasure and wisdom that you get when taking care of another man’s home. Not house.

A home.

A home is different than a house.

A house is a box made up of wood, some metal, saw dust, and paint.

A home, on the other hand, is someone’s essence.

Their identity, safety, and security.

It’s sacred. It’s a sanctuary where they become their most authentic selves.

And when you care for it, you develop a certain clairvoyance about the person.

There’s an old saying by Hermes Trismigustus that goes:

“As above, so below.

As within, so without”

In other words, another persons home is a reflection of their entire world.

Their mind, thoughts, and habits.

The physical manifestation of all their success, or presence, or struggle, or clarity, or lack-there-of.

You see,

When you feed their koi fish pond, you can feel their 2 year relationship to the koi. They nurtured them to live that long.

When you wipe down the counter-tops, you envision the family dinners, the aroma of spices & herbs in their home-cooked meals.

You can almost hear the laughs they might’ve had. Maybe the arguments. The deep conversations. Or the silences.

(All the natural but intimate things that happen in a household, yknow.)

When you de-clutter the living room, you ask, “what caused them to decide on placing the remote in this spot?”

“How did the dog rip this up and shove it under the sofa?”

And when you play hide-and-seek with their clever Dalmatian, you begin to sense the bond that made em so close.

Sometimes we get caught up in the “gotta do what’s best for me” narrative but, I noticed you can find a lot of joy in giving your time and effort to make someones day better.

You stop thinking about yourself, and you start seeing through the eyes of another.

You start to think,

  • What are their stresses?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What would make this busy-persons day? And how can I create a safe space for them to be themselves.

How do they want to unwind and relax?

And how can you create that for them?

So they can go out and do what they do best for the world.

Ahh this is the art of giving.

BTW, I wasn’t born with this natural giving-ness. I had to learn it.

Listen, I spent most of my teens sick and stuck in a bed. I was introverted, shy, and had go through a period of radical selfishness, before I could even think of doing something for someone else.

But when I started running a business?

(oooweee I got slapped in the face)

This was the hardest lesson I had to learn..

That it’s not about you.

It’s all about your customer, your audience, your superfans.

It’s about being of greater service to the world with your knowledge, your product, or service.

It’s about how you can make peoples lives, their days, or their experience better.

And as the more you give, you’ll find the more you receive.

In behavior psychology, Dr. Robert Cialdini calls this the law of reciprocity. My girlfriend is a master at this and teaches me every day, how I can be more giving.

And while caring for this house –– I’m starting to get it. In a genuine way. It’s actually pretty fun.

A few months ago I also read a great book called Giftology by John Ruhlin who thinks this way for a living.

In fact, he made a whole company dedicated to helping businesses build these, forever relationships –– he calls them.

Here’s some quotes I’m pondering, while I’m taking care of this home (and picking up the dog doo-doo):

“Gift giving and those “little touches” commemorate not just certain events, but people, places, and things that are important to us. In essence, they_ become the symbols of the value you place on the relationship.” –– John Ruhlin

“Giftology is rooted in the acknowledgment of someone’s time being* the most precious commodity he or she has to share. We’ve all been given a ridiculously limited amount of it. So when someone shares it with you, let him or her know unequivocally how honored you were to receive it.” –– John Ruhlin

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” –– John Wesley

“Of the various kinds of intelligence, generosity is the first.” –– John Surowiecki

“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.” –– Lao Tzu

And yknow what?

This feels good.

They didn’t ask me to clean the house.

But I did, because it just felt like the right thing to do. And it feels. damn. good.

I ask myself, “how can I create more of this in other areas of my life? for my family? for my friends?”

That’s it for now.

Your friend,

Perris (giving is fun) Aquino

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