Imagine a world of trade. Trade for commodities, for luxuries, for the simple and the multifaceted. The world where the work you do matters, and in exchange, you do things for others to get the things you want for yourself.
The barter system.
Until the coin was developed this is how the world ran for millions of years.
You can observe a monkey’s behavior today and realize quickly that;
“I scratch your back, you scratch my back”, this is how they operate today.
Researchers from the Comparative Cognitive Laboratory at Yale University conducted a study on the behavior of the how a species of monkeys, the Capuchins, interacted with each other after learning the concept of money.
Naturally, they are known to trade sex and other favors for luxuries. This study with money would further prove their innate trade abilities.
There is a notion that; whatever action you perform now, you will be compensated back with a similar action in the future.
The reason why giving and not wanting anything in return is so powerful is because it is unusual. It is so unusual that naturally people are guilted into giving back.
You are programmed through millennia of trade to be equal with others in terms of the exchange.
To make things more complicated, what you find is an equal exchange is not the same for someone else. So, it becomes a subjective matter.
“One men’s trash is another men’s treasure.”
You don’t have the same wants or needs as your counterpart.
I was volunteering at a conference recently in Vancouver. It was a big event and my role was to be a speaker runner.
I got to meet some amazing people. One of those speakers is John who created the Act of Kindness organization.
After his speech, he gave everyone a task and that was to deliver one act of kindness for someone else that day after the conference, with no ulterior motive.
The effect was to create a chain reaction.
One that would span from the 800 attendees to 8000 random people in Vancouver that day.
Whether this occurred it is unknown, however, the intention was there.
Have you ever heard of the Baldwin Effect?
It is when an individual acquires a certain characteristic and passes that down to its offspring when eventually all members of that species show this characteristic. This was coined after James Mark Baldwin in 1896.
A great deal has changed since the early records of human civilization; the evolution of species, advancement in science health and technology, yet at the same time, many characteristics remain the same.
The flight or fight response is still prevalent for you and me, it determines much of our behavior and how we interpret others and the world.
Giving and not expecting anything in return threatens the notion of the flight or fight response.
It begins as early as childbirth. Prior to being born, you predetermine whether the world is safe, abundant, and who to seek for comfort and safety when you come out of the womb.
For example, whatever your mother would drink, you would associate that as a safe drink when you would come out of the womb.
You can watch this Ted Talk to really grasp this notion.
The point being is that what your mother passes onto you, you trust it immediately.
Same goes for trade, when you see your parents trading with others, you begin to understand the needs for survival and the mechanism of society.
Indirectly the give and take become this dance.
Most societies in the developed world are naturally takers, not all, but the majority. This is a learned behavior.
Early on when I was about 7 years old, I would learn this trade principle. There was a game played with the kids in my community, I forget the name, the concept was to trade apricot seeds with each other.
You play to gain the most seeds. What I learned during this game is that I can have an abundance of seeds because I could “mine” them. So, I orchestrated a mining operation/sweat shop aka I put my grandma to work.
I would have her dissect apricots and give me the seeds, then I would go and play, barter and trade with the fellow kids in the neighborhood, to ultimately be a winner.
Of course, this game faded fast and went onto marbles then card trading.
What it taught me was a valuable lesson. No matter how hard you work you can lose it all, so work hard and be smart with your earnings. The principle of High-risk High-reward.
This game also taught me to be a taker.
Another example of how I learned an early trade, was when I was young, mowing the lawn or cleaning the car. I would put in work, and I would get rewarded with cash, which I would then spend on candy.
I am sure you have similar examples of this.
What I can’t say for sure, was learning how to give and not expect anything in return. This became something that was unwarranted.
Through the actions of my parents and how they did things for others, letting people stay with us, feeding them, bringing them gifts, taught me altruism.
The counter act of this altruism is survival. Yet what you may have a hard time grasping, as I did when I was young, is that giving leads to receiving through other unexpected means.
Trading is how you came to be, how can giving make progress for your future?
What if we can teach the characteristic to give. What would the world look like?
Before I continue I must bring to light, that you can’t give what you don’t have, but there are other ways to be of service to others.
People like Nelson Mandala, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, these may be extreme cases, and you might have a neighbor or a friend who always gives.
It doesn’t have to be money or a service, it can be an idea or an expression.
The idea behind the Act of Kindness is to pay it forward. When you have been given something and you are able to give to someone else.
Watch this movie if you haven’t already seen it, it can change your perspective on how you operate, it did so for my philanthropy partner.
Let’s look now at the business aspect. How do you give to your employee’s? Your first reaction is you incentivize them financially.
You would hand out a bonus for a task.
What if you could do something much more for them?
Like, be there for when they need someone, listen to them, acknowledge what they do, what they need and who they are as a human being. Putting aside any bias or concern for yourself as the employer.
What an employee, you work your ass off for your boss and you find that you don’t get paid any more for working any harder.
What else could you do for your boss to get recognized as a top employee?
How else are you committed to the organization?
Do you do things outside the scope of what you’re tasked with, knowing you won’t get any more pay?
Understand that you when you eliminate the ulterior motive, of wanting to get recognized, rewarded, or compensated you now strive for excellence because you are doing it for you, not for others.
When you do it for yourself, at the same time realizing that you are an essential component to the workability of the organization, others benefit too.
Top performs do things for the greater good, and for themselves, not for the personal gain of “I do this for you so you can do this for me”.
How about clients? How do you retain them? Do you offer them promotions and discounts? This hasn’t been working well for you why?
Those are ulterior motive behaviors, you aren’t going to produce results with bribes. That’s all they are. You are tricking your customers to come to you. How long do you think this will last for?
You do it a couple of times, then take away the discount, you think that customer will stay loyal to you and your cause? Sure, some might, and the reason why they stay is because of the quality of work you do for them.
How do you create lifetime customers? Surprise them with no ulterior motives with the things that matter most to them.
You will encounter skepticism and that’s the reality, however when you display the level of trust and do not ask for anything in return that client will remember that act, not only will they remember it but they will want to talk about it, why?
Because of how uncommon it is.
Now, I am not suggesting you give everything away for free. That’s just bad business, learn to be humble and give things when you can to people who least expect it.
Be loyal to your client’s as you would be to your friends and family.
To conclude; trade is an inherent characteristic that dates to your ancestors. You can perform an act of giving to signal to others that you are trustworthy.
Everyone is subjective, and some who have experienced betrayal will be cynical to your giving.
Understand meritocracy. It all starts with you, put in the work, even when you don’t think it will give you more in return and give when you can, but also be able to receive from others.
The world will be a better place if you understand the concept of giving and taking.
Thank you for reading this post.
To be continued….
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