It’s not what you do for yourself that has the greatest impact, rather it’s what you do for others that really matters. You can get whatever you want in life by helping enough other people get what they want.
Although this concept has been proven time and time again throughout history, many people take the opposite approach by focusing on what they can do for themselves. They have an attitude of "what's in it for me," and "what can I get," when deciding on a course to take.
To illustrate this principle, let's look at a prospective employee at a job interview. The candidate is concerned about pay, benefits, and vacation time. Although these issues are relevant, they have no bearing on the person's suitability for the position. A job offer will only be made to someone who can best solve an employer’s problems.
A successful candidate utilizes their interview to expound on how much they can be of service to the employer. When the employer wants what the candidate has to offer, they respond by offering something in return; salary and benefits.
For another example, consider Linda and Bob, two employees looking for a promotion. Bob feels that his obligation is to perform only the work he is being paid for. He reasons that if his employer wants him to do more work and take on additional responsibilities, they should first give him a raise and promotion. Bob decides how much he will do based on how much he’s getting.
Linda on the other hand, always does more than she is being paid for. She looks for work that needs to be done without being asked and is always willing to assume more responsibility. Linda does as much as she can without worrying about how much she is getting.
Most employers would readily promote Linda over Bob. Even if Linda doesn’t get a promotion with her current employer, she will get one with another. It’s what you do for others that determines what you get in return.
Successful businesses are the ones that do more for their customers and employees than is expected. Customers are thrilled when they feel as if they are getting more than their money’s worth. They are more likely to return to a business that treats them well.
Employees work harder for, and stay longer with employers where they are respected and appreciated. The principle is universal. What you receive is based on what you give.
This cause and effect doesn’t always work immediately. There's no way to know how long it will take. Some people become cynical, thinking their efforts are going unrewarded. Their response is to cut back on what they give until they receive what they want. This is a self-defeating strategy that is doomed to fail.
Giving always precedes getting. However, you must give without expectation of receiving something in return. This concept goes against our conditioning. It requires a lot of faith. If you have trouble with this approach, look at it from a different perspective.
Since giving with strings attached is proven to fail, you have nothing to lose by taking the opposite approach; giving without expectation. Although it may feel uncomfortable at first, give it a try. As you experience more successes, it will become a more natural option for you.
Look for opportunities to be of service. Let go of the need to receive something in return. This does not mean allowing people to take advantage of you. Rather, it's a change in your outlook. Give more to get more. Try it, it does work.