Incomplete Thoughts: On Giving And Taking

  • Incomplete thoughts are thoughts that are seriously lacking necessary segments, and would have otherwise turned into complete polished theories. I invite you all to think about them, swirl them in your mind, mix it up and make your own incomplete thoughts ooor shake your heads and tell me 'dina. You've got it all wrong'

I am currently reading Amanda Palmer's book "The Art Of Asking". In this book she shares her insights on asking for help after launching a kickstarter campaign that was so successful that she became the first indie singer to pass the million dollar mark. She shares really interesting points about asking for and accepting help. I'll do a whole review on the book in another post.

I started reading the book because we usually hear people only preaching about giving, but no one talks about the taking part of the equation. On contrary, taking always has a negative connotation; you always have to give without expecting any return.

But the thing is, there is always a return.

Giving and taking are two sides of the same coin, if someone gives another takes. One cannot exist without the other. The following thoughts are stemming from a career point of view, but you can frame it differently and tell me if this applies as well!

Fresh grads lack experience -maybe even knowledge- so out of sheer excitement about getting a new job, they give abundantly; they accept many roles, they are not stingy with ideas, they share contacts, they are the company's living ad, they tolerate the lower pay, they are happy to stay extra hours, they don't mind the donkey work. They love the donkey work.

In a country like Egypt this level of excitement shoots up to the sky, because you are surrounded by extreme negativity that makes you flee to the other side of the spectrum, to your positive bubble. You'll take it upon yourself to help elevate this positive ecosystem puzzled over how it can exist in this draining negativity. So when you join a company that rows its boat in this rocky narrow river of positivity, lucky you, you are the new navigation analyst! You'll hop aboard and yell in excitement 'I can scrub the decks too!'

There is no doubt that giving is a beautiful act that leads to a happy life. But does this type of scrubbing giving lead to a happy life?

I now believe it depends on the type of people you give. I believe that a career is a give and take agreement. Whether it happens in the same transaction or later on, between the same poeple or with different people joining in, it doesn't really matter. There will always be a return, you will always be a taker. It depends on the type of people you initially give to.

The worst type of people to scrub the decks for are people who never take.

You can't give if you've never taken; if you've turned down help. Because simply you don't realise the bliss of taking to the point that you would want others to feel it too. People who don't take, never give. There are many reasons why some people don't take, usually it's an ego thing, they cant possibly accept help because they can make it on their own, or because others cant possibly know better. Or sometimes they cant even recognise that this is a giving and then worse, deny it "it was you?! I thought it's a high wave that filled the boat with water and magically cleaned the decks! Weird". 

So naturally what would follow is a lack of giving, because these people will be so consumed with themselves and only themselves. That they cant see that others need their help, they are so consumed with independently helping themselves that they might think that others need to workout their mess on their own as well.

Don't give people who never take.

Giving spreads in an infinite overlapping cycles; you give someone, that someone gives another and so on, till it comes back to you. You can't only be a giver, you cant possibly learn to be a giver without being a taker. And so on it goes.

But don't be confused about givers who wont take, sometimes your gift is more valuable for someone else, so they would thank and decline but always pass your gift to someone else. And don't be fooled by grumpy takers; takers who only accept the help when they have no other choice.

A cycle glitches when you give people who never take.