To Smoke Or To Give... That Is The Question

A research study highlighted by the Harvard Business Review showed that during a recession, people in the United States do two things more often... smoke cigarettes and give to charities. While the two do seem contradictory (Remember that the same people probably aren't doing both), I think they are a strong example of being intentional... or not.

During a recession, charities have financial struggles like other organizations. As a result, they do a better job of getting their message out (being more intentional) to increase giving. From the giving side, people see the need closer to home with friends, family and coworkers, and will make a more concerted effort (be more intentional) to give to such organizations.

The increase in the purchase of cigarettes is a strong example of NOT being intentional. During a recession people are more stressed and choose different ways to cope. An extremely convenient (often the opposite to intentional) way to deal with these stresses is to increase smoking-or take up the habit again. A better choice would be exercise, building supportive relationships or seeking assistance, but all that takes work (a key requirement for being intentional).

Think about your choices today? Do they reflect a desire to improve yourself and possibly the lives of others, or are they simply the result of saying, "what's the easiest way to deal with this?" Remember, one choice improves your sense of purpose while the other is just a short term fix to a much longer term issue.