We spend a lot of time fretting about getting pay hikes, bonuses, discounts on products and services, free anything etc etc. We want whatever extra we can get. How that free conditioner with a bottle of shampoo makes us happy! But what about giving? How we cringe when we have to pay for someone’s dinner and if a friend forgets to settle his dinner share! Sometimes, it even bothers us if we have to pay for something that we want. And, I think its truer for Indians – we don’t want to pay for anything if it was in our hands.
This can be especially dangerous when it comes to relationships and goodwill. By fighting for small favors, we give up on bigger victories. By cashing out small things, we drain out the wells of long term relationships. Helping someone without expecting anything in return can be an alien concept for most of us – be it between relatives (oh the domestic grudges can be so menial) or friends or professional acquaintances. First thing that comes to our mind when offering help is “what do we get?” I saw this attitude a lot after moving back to India. The concept of networking in India is almost nil. While people in US were pretty open and friendly to give advice or get into mutually beneficial professional exchange, whenever I talked to discuss something professionally in India, I could sense a cautious undertone in other person’s words – “Why is she talking to me? What will she take from me?” I find it funny and sad at the same time.
The only way to succeed in long term is to learn how to give – and, perhaps even more than what you get because slowly people will appreciate your help and stand for you. Prove your worth before asking. Whenever I have done something for anyone without expecting anything in return, I have been rewarded multiple times over. It’s called creating a goodwill; something that you reap throughout your life be it personal relations or business. Yes, there will be suckers too (and you can stop helping them out after few times) but there will be many more people who will end up becoming a friend for lifetime. And these are the people who will turn up unexpectedly to help you, bring a referral or what not. Similarly when working together with someone, don’t think how big a share you can get but think how much bigger you can make it by working together.
So, how can I help you?