The book “Give and Take” by Adam Grant vindicated my beliefs. The book talks about how you can be a kind-hearted person and still get ahead in the world.
I have been sceptical and unsure of my approach to life and work and people and relationships. Though I believe in the workings of karma, I have had numerous instances to question its efficacy. Life is not fair at all and all of us have heard enough stories of people stamping on others to get ahead in life and actually being visibly more successful and famous.
Grant says in the book that people are either takers or givers.
We all have met a few “takers” in our lives. They like to get more than they give. They put their own interests ahead of others’ needs. They feel that to succeed, they must be better than others. They self-promote and ensure that they get plenty of credit for their efforts.
Givers are a comparatively rare breed in the place of work. They prefer to give more than they receive. Givers are other-focused. They pay attention to what other people need from them. Giving can be infectious. It spreads quickly and widely especially across social networks.
What is noteworthy is that these preferences are not about money. The gives and takers differ in their attitudes and actions toward other people. If you are a taker, you help others strategically, when the benefits to you offset the personal costs.
If you are a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis: you help whenever the benefit to others exceed the personal costs. In short, as a giver, you help others without expecting anything in return. If you are a giver at work, you simply endeavour to be generous in sharing your time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas and connections with other people who can benefit from them.
I read Grant in Feb 2017 and wrote this post a year later in 2018. I have read and re-read the draft of this post several times in the past one year. It is mid-2019 now and I have not yet published the post. Why couldn’t I finish editing the write-up? Why did it take me so long? Am I not entirely convinced with Grant’s categorization of people? He has provided several real-life examples to prove that all is not lost for the “givers” and if one is, by nature, a giver, one must lost hope. Though the world seems to be quite ‘matlabi’ (self-serving), it is surprising how many people actually go out of their way to help others in whatever capacity they can. There really are many “good” people out there. There really are many “givers.” I guess this post is just a big shout out to all those GEMS.