Givers or takers – who wins in life?
At first glance you might assume that takers do better in life, get more and achieve greater success and even wealth than givers. However, depending on how you want to define these four outcomes consider; givers live longer, are healthier, impact others in a more positive and lasting way, get sick less and have greater inner peace and happiness and takers have the opposites of all of these.
So, let me ask you – if you could choose which of the above group you would be in as you go through your life and its years and circumstances – what’s your decision?
Well, maybe you need a little more information before you decide – OK consider the following. Let’s look at three major life areas – careers, relationships and longevity. Sorry I’m not including money as I have learned that most of you know or have learned that money can buy travel, stuff, position, power, influence and convenience but it can’t buy longer life happiness, health and spiritual contentment. I know, we could argue these points for hours, but let’s save that for another time, for now - I just want to stick with the title - who over time wins in life – givers or takers?
First let’s define each of these two groups;
Takers – it’s all about them – what they have, what they get, what you owe them, what they deserve, their position in line, they shouldn’t have to wait for anything, they were put on this earth for you to serve them, they are always right, their time and agendas are more important than yours – had enough or should I go on? OK, they don’t have to say thank you or show appreciation, their goals, needs and desires are all that matters. Before I leave this group – one thing I have learned is that takers don’t see themselves as takers – they actually see themselves as givers because their self-definition is – I am – kind-hearted, caring and thoughtful – sorry folks that ain’t you and not even close.
OK, how about givers – they tend to put others first, they sacrifice time, effort and even possessions when others are in need. They don’t judge who deserves what, when, where or how – they give of their time, their effort, their care and their compassion even to strangers. They don’t judge, blame or get even. They don’t keep score and they always show appreciation even in the smallest ways. These folks according to research get sick less, live longer, are happier and have greater inner peace. You might ask – can givers be wealthy? The difference between givers and takers is not money. There are poor takers and extremely wealthy givers. Money is not the measuring stick between these two groups. The one thing that separates them is their life outlook.
For givers life is about service, sacrifice, sharing and leaving a legacy of love. For takers it’s what I have, what I deserve, what you owe me (again not talking here about money) and what I can control.
Takers in business tend over time to lose respect, loyalty and even staying power. Takers in relationships tend to over time spend more time alone. Conversely givers tend to have more real friends, not just acquaintances, better and happier relationships and more satisfying careers. Takers tend to have more conflict and tension in their lives while givers enjoy greater peace and contentment, even solitude.
During my life and global travels I have known many people in both camps including clients, friends, relatives, customers, employees and neighbors. Recently I decided to consider who of all of these people I have known have had the greatest influence on my life and its circumstances and outcomes – the givers I have known or the takers. Got a guess who have had the greatest positive influence and the greatest negative influence?
Well, if you’re not sure – the givers have helped me the most and the takers have taught me who to avoid – a lot more but it’s kinda personal.
How about you – first of all do you see yourself as a giver or a taker? If you asked several people who would be honest with you which group they would put you in – what would most of them or even all of them say?
Which group do you tend to have in your inner circle? Which group do you tend to get along best with? Which group have helped you the most or taught you the most? Which group do you tend to spend the most time with? Which group have you tended to attract into your life?
Enough with the questions – let me close with a recommendation. Years ago, I read a great book by Evatt called – Givers and Takers. Let me summarize one of the key premises.
Givers tend to attract takers into their life because they need people to give to. Takers tend to attract givers because they need people who will give to them. The worst relationships are two takers, a taker working for a taker, a taker buying from a taker and/or a taker married to a taker - got it? Why – because they never get what they want no matter how hard they keep trying. The best relationships are two givers – two spouses that are givers, two friends that are givers, a giver employee working for a giver boss and why? Because they both get what they want or need but it’s not because they ask for it, deserve it or want it but because they both give to give not to get.
So – are you a giver or a taker? No – not what you think you are because it’s how you want others to define you – what are you really? If you are a taker – got the courage to admit it?