How to Succeed by Giving

Get-It-Done Guy explains how giving to others can actually benefit you. Read on to learn more.

Stever Robbins
2-minute read

I’ve been reading the book Give and Take by Adam Grant, which is all about the practice of giving. It turns out that some people are basically takers. They take more than they give. Others are matchers. They strive for equal exchanges. And others are givers, who give freely to others. As you might imagine, matchers come in so-so in the game of success. They don’t end up on the top of the heap, but they don’t end up on the bottom, either. But you might be surprised to find out who ends up on the bottom.

You guessed it: givers. And who ends up on top? Er, also givers. The difference is whether the givers make sure that they get taken care of as well. Givers who end up on the bottom give too much and don’t ask for enough in return. They become used up, and often live out their days muttering to themselves as they wander the streets, dressed in rags, searching for well-off yuppies to give their last remaining coins to.

The givers who end up ahead, however, are the ones who give freely and also make sure that they’re taking care of themselves in the process. They have good boundaries, and know how to say “No” when they need to set limits. They’re healthy. Well-adjusted.

Your assignment for today: give.

Find a person in your work or home life and do something nice for them. 

Give them a gift, or leave some money where you know they’ll find it. Do a chore they normally have to do, so when they go to do it, it’s already done. Pay extra at the cafe, and ask the clerk to apply the payment to the person behind you in line.

If they know you’re doing it, they may thank you or try to do something in return. Your feelings may end up being more a reflection of their appreciation than of your giving. So give anonymously—just today—and experience the positive effect on yourself. 

Email me and let me know how it goes!

About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.