Give and Take – The Art of Reciprocity

Givers get ahead, while takers trail instead

People often wonder what distinguishes a successful person from one that can’t seem to get over the hump in their career or their life. Perhaps these individuals are very similar in what they’ve achieved, their line of work, or even the level of education they’ve completed. Sure, they may even like the same foods, watch the same sports, or visit the same destinations. So, then, where exactly does the difference lie?

The answer: It is in their variance of reciprocity.

Simply put, according to Adam Grant and a slew of very informative scientific research, the more you give, the more you shall receive.

The 3 Motives

  • The Givers!!! We mustn’t dismiss the fact that there are many people in the world that wish to help others without any ulterior motive. In other words, helping others with no strings attached. What an elaborate and perhaps divine concept, I know. Guess what? That is the area within which you should roam if you wish to achieve optimal success, both professionally and in life. Not to mention, it just makes you feel good! Ta-da!
  • The Takers.. This is the area that may benefit you in the short run, but restricts you in the long run. As the old famous saying from Maya Angelou goes, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Although this may not have been directly what the quote was meant to convey, the fact of the matter is that those that continuously only take, will make people feel a certain way. Sure, your friend or colleague may forget the one time you did something wrong, but they’ll never forget how they felt as a result of it. Therefore, try to limit how much you take and focus on how much to give back.
  • Matchers… Yes, these are those that people that attempt to keep an even balance of “Give and Take”. Sure, that’s a pretty safe way to  maintain the status quo, and keep everything copacetic; but according to Adam Grant, it’s not the most optimal way to go about one’s life. In fact, research indicates that people that are the givers, are either most successful or least successful. Those that are matchers lie in between, but lag in their opportunities to progress or help to the highest extent possible

The How? What Can You Do?

  • Social Media: Connect with old Friends and acquaintances you haven’t spoken with in a long time. This is terrific for providing you with fresh or new information, which you can then utilize to better yourself as well as them. Offer to help them with an issue they’re having, or help in acquiring a new skill. Learn a helping hand. Utilize Linkedin or Facebook to be more efficient in your outreach.
  • Walk the Talk & Practice What you Preach: Share your knowledge with others that may need it. Offer five minutes of your time to everyone you think you may be able to help, and even those you think you may not. You’d be pleasantly surprised by what happens if you offer to listen, as well as speak with.
  • Set time slots: Dedicate a certain amount of time to helping somebody, so that you are consistent and motivated to do so. Use tools to help you achieve that, such as Google Calendar or Evernote for example.
  • Look for the best in people: Don’t automatically assume somebody’s out to get you. As in law, you’re innocent until proven guilty, so take a similar approach. Give people the benefit of the doubt before passing judgment. You may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
  • Research ways to contribute: Everyone can contribute in their own special way. Make it a priority to figure out how you can make a difference in somebody’s life. Consider donating your time, volunteering at your local charitable organization, or simply being there for a friend or colleague. Any time you learn something new, attempt to pay it forward.
  • Approach experts for their know-how: Leverage a particular experts’ strengths and knowledge to help you achieve your ambitions, and then do the same for someone else in need. That’s what paying it forward is all about. Consider going to a restaurant and covering someone else’s bill that may be less fortunate. You’ll feel terrific, but the person you’re doing it for.. they’ll be on cloud nine.

Career Advancement

Giving is an art form that has a wide range of beneficial implications. Here’s a few things you may do at the office that could benefit you in the long run:

  • Become an advocate for others: speak on their behalf and highlight their strengths. Everyone quickly judges a person’s weakness, so work on their strengths. This helps with negotiation down the line.
  • Share your knowledge: this leads to innovation, efficiency and productivity. Two heads are better than one and collaboration is crucial to a company’s success.
  • Focus on your unique expertise: work on your own strengths, and leverage them to your advantage by providing your services. Reach out to someone in need in the office. What you do for them would simultaneously showcase your own skills and potentially catch the eye of another leader.
  • Ask for feedback: never be afraid to ask for feedback. This helps you understand what can be improved, as well as what you’re doing great. Knowing more can only play in your favor, not to mention the fact that listening to others make them feel great as well.

Adam Grant, a top rated professor at Wharton suggests that giving style correlates strongly with success in life. Sure, many “givers” may simply keep giving with no regard for their own well-being, but the vast majority achieve greatness. Adam Grant’s story, that of an incredible networking genius named Adam Rifkin, shows how powerful building your network really is. As he puts it, networking, collaborating, and influencing has a humongous impact on your life. “It can transform not just individuals or groups, but entire organizations and communities”.

Here is an incredible video of Adam Grant from Google Talks:

Note, this post contains my own views as well as summary of what it means to give. It incorporates the ideals, values, and tips incredibly portrayed by Adam Grant in his best-selling book, Give & Take. The views represented in this post are solely my own.

Thank you so much for your attention. If you enjoyed this article, please share 🙂


Give the gift of knowledge
You may also like
Crushing It from Gary Vaynerchuk – My Honest Take!
5 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Webpage