The importance of giving back

Have you ever achieved a major accomplishment, looked around and thought, “Is this all there is?” When you look back on your life, does it seem like you have accomplished a lot, but you still don’t feel completely fulfilled? On paper, you can have everything you thought you wanted from life: a thriving career, an incredible family and peak physical health, and still feel like something’s missing. 

That’s because you haven’t accomplished one of the six essential human needs: contribution. You need to give back.

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Why is giving back important?

The need to contribute to something larger than ourselves is hardwired into every human being. It gives meaning to life, feeds your soul and lifts your spirits. It helps you to be grateful for everything you have. It gives you significance.

Contribution stems from growth, another of the essential human needs. If you’re not making progress in your life, of course you won’t feel fulfilled – you’ll be stagnant. You’re only truly living if you’re growing. But what is the end goal of all that growth? We grow so we can eventually give something back. Whether you’re giving back to your loved ones, the community or society, you’ll only find true fulfillment when you start to look outside of your own needs.

If your goals only serve you, then achieving major milestones in your life will only bring fleeting happiness. But if your goals aim to benefit a greater purpose, you’ll eventually be able to find a true sense of joy. You’ll start to realize that you don’t need to be praised by others. You’ll witness firsthand the positive impact you’re making. And you’ll find that positive impact creates a ripple effect. Just like how the people you surround yourself with affect your life, creating positivity will only bring you more positivity.

The emotional scarcity you feel will end once you begin to give back. That’s not to say you won’t still encounter stressful times, but once you make the psychological, emotional and spiritual shift that comes with being someone who gives back, you’ll feel more grounded in all aspects of your life. You don’t need to be wildly successful to start contributing – every small bit counts. 

Why is giving back important? Whether you give someone on the street a hot meal or a few dollars or are able to contribute on a larger scale, giving back to society will give you a sense of fulfillment you just can’t get anywhere else.

secret to living is giving

Get inspired to give back

As Tony often says, “The secret to living is giving.” He doesn’t just talk the talk with giving back quotes – he walks the walk every day through the Tony Robbins Foundation. The foundation has been improving the lives of senior citizens, youth and the hungry, homeless and imprisoned since 1991. Here are just a few ways the foundation has made a difference:

– The Inmate Empowerment Program has provided books, audio and curriculum to over 1,600 correctional facilities.

– International Basket Brigades around the country have donated baskets of food and household items.

– The four-day Global Youth Leadership Summit has changed the lives of thousands of teens.

– Monetary grants have impacted individuals and organizations around the world.

tony robbins foundation

Still wondering, “Why is giving back important?” Get inspired with these quotes on giving back from some of the world’s greatest heroes: 

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill 

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“Life is a gift and it offers us the privilege, opportunity and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” – Tony Robbins 

“The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” – Helen Keller 

“If you’re not reaching back to help anyone then you’re not building a legacy.” – Germany Kent 

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” – Tony Robbins 

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso 

“Those who are the luckiest . . . also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others.” – Ben Bernanke 

“When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.” – Anne Lamott

Start giving back today
Building a business around giving back
Building a business

Tony Robbins is living proof that fulfillment in life and in business aren’t two separate things – they complement each other. You can have a successful business and also give back. In fact, you can build your entire business and life around this philosophy. Learn how from Tony himself.

Companies that give back

starbucks store

Becoming an aware consumer is one way to create change in the world. These brands take pride in making philanthropic advances. Get to know a few companies that are committed to acts of giving and creating a positive ripple throughout the world.

Corporate volunteering

coworkers showing teamwork

Do you want to help a cause, while also helping your company? Initiating corporate volunteering programs creates an effect that goes beyond the charitable cause. It also cultivates a more dynamic company culture and an enriching experience for employees.


How to give back

woman teaching coding

You don’t need to be wealthy or work in a high-powered job to make a difference in the world. There’s a variety of ways you can give back to your community. Here are a few easy, yet effective, options to begin making your contribution.

Importance of giving back

neon sign that says change

A good deed can have an effect that transcends the act itself. Giving back to society can help you find your purpose and put you in a more beautiful state. Discover the importance of giving back and how it can trigger a positive change in yourself and around the world.

Feeding America

tony robbins feeding america

Tony is no stranger to hardship – it’s what inspired him to support Feeding America, a nonprofit that aims to alleviate hunger insecurities across the nation. More than 40 million people in America struggle with hunger. Read about Tony’s contributions and how you can also give back.

Famous philanthropists


You don’t need to be a millionaire in order to give back, but you can be inspired by them. Many high-profile individuals have made generous contributions to causes that need support. Learn about how they have used their success to spark a positive ripple effect.

Benefits of volunteering

group of volunteers smiling

Giving back to your community can also ignite a change in yourself. When you feel fulfilled, you’ll see the impact in every area of your life. Here are five ways volunteering can make a positive and personal impact on you.

Ready to make your contribution?

Discover ways you can make a positive impact in your community. Learn more about the organizations Tony supports.