I grew up hearing the phrase, "it is better to give than to receive", and always just believed it without really thinking about it. It was one of the golden rules that parents tell their children to learn about gratitude and to not be jealous about someone else's new possession.
The saying actually has origins in the Bible, Acts 20:35 (King James Version): "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (emphasis added).
This phrase is simple - so simple in fact it understates the true power of giving.
The great Jim Rohn said, "Giving Starts the Receiving Process". It seems simple enough, but it is probably one of his most misunderstood quotes. When you process the statement, it is easy to think about obligated gift giving - like when someone unexpectedly brings you a gift and you quickly run around to find something you can wrap and regift. That is gift giving (and gift receiving) with false intentions. Giving does not create an obligation on the part of the receiver to give back. That certainly should not be the expectation of the giver.
What Jim Rohn means is that what you give, and give unconditionally, comes back to you in spades. The more you give, the more you will get. This is not just measured in materialistic items. When you give a gift, the joy it brings them is your gift in return. This is true for any kind of gift - anything that can make a difference. Give a smile, and you'll receive a smile back. Give respect, and you'll get that back.
This works on the opposite direction as well. Give a scowl, and you'll get that back also. What you give in life is what you get in life. The hundreds of ordinary, small personal interactions you have each day will shape the way you feel and telegraph to the world what you want to get back. This reminds me of that other golden rule, "treat others how you want to be treated".
The best way to attract success is to give it away. If you can serve others and make them successful, that success always seems to find its way back to you somehow or another. When you are networking, go in with the mindset of "what can I offer this group" rather than "what can I sell this group". When you make a connection on LinkedIn, look for a way to help them in their effort to network with you. Most of all, have the proper gift-giving mindset when you do. Know you are giving unconditionally - for that is the true gift to yourself.
David S. Burnett, CPA | Accounting Bullpen LLC