Be a Giver and only work with Givers. That is the secret recipe where everyone wins. The recipe for creating positive feedback loops of mutual gain and growth. The hardest part though is simply staying away from the Takers.
To be a giver and only work with Givers is to create an environment where everyone benefits. But, what makes someone a Giver? A Giver is someone who really cares about the other person in the relationship or transaction. Who wants to build-up the other, support and challenge them. Because it makes the Giver happy to see the other do well. The Giver often takes more risk than is necessary because they want to unburden the other. Because they always think about the welfare of their collaborator/business partner/fellow human.
It’s like friends who always fight to be the one who pays the bill after dinner. You want to hang out with people like that and work with people like that. The problem is that they are not so easy to find. And, if Givers are a minority that means you must be very careful of Takers, especially if you are a Giver! Because if you don’t, the Taker will take as much as they can from you – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially.
Nassim Taleb once mentioned this great aphorism, which I believe he heard from an old-school financier.
“In any transaction there is a Fuckor and a Fuckee (like Lessor and Lessee). If you don’t know who the Fuckee is, then it’s you.”
Working with Takers sadly puts us in the exhausting situation of needing to worry about this all the time. Because that’s their game, they take, so we must be constantly mindful of their taking.
And that is why being a Giver and working with Givers is so beautiful. It is a place of freedom and genuine collaboration, where you know that you have each other’s backs. We do not have to second guess the motives of those we engage with. Of course, we can’t always choose the people we work with, but at least we can try. And the more you try, the more that you are likely to find the right people.
It is important to remember that Takers may not be setting out to be Takers. Much of it is likely to be internalised, unconscious behaviour. So, ‘taking’ is not necessarily born out of deliberate intention in the form of “I will exploit this person”. Of course, it may be very intentional too.
If much of the world revolves around Taking, most people muddling through life are going to mimic what they encounter, without even realising It. In the same way, someone may be Giver, without realising that’s what they do. That giving is a non-conscious habit for them.
Be a Giver and only work with Givers
So, the story of being a Giver has another side to it. It is about becoming awake to yourself and to others. To your own behaviours and the deeper beliefs that guide them. To how much you fully intend to engage in a certain way, either as a Giver, Taker or neither.
This is the path of self-knowledge that empowers you to be a giver and only work with givers. It is also what allows you to be aware of the takers.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.