Continued From The Last Post
G: So people are supposed to give to you and expect nothing in return–no thanks, no reciprocity, no recognition? You don’t see any of those things as implicit in the nature of “giving”? You are just free to “take” and owe nothing? And no moral imperative to do the same for others out of gratitude? I don’t consider any of those to be “strings”. They are the social fiber of relationships. It’s an expectation that strikes me as rather child-like. Children expect their mother to give to them unconditionally, and even then, most children begin to give back as a natural response. Only later, with adult perspective, do people come to realize what those gifts may have cost a parent. No gift is so freely given that it permits you to disregard the giver.
A (A new person in the mix): Right, you are both making two completely different and very valuable points. You don’t owe anyone anything… but paying it forward is about giving because you feel it’s the right thing to do… not the same as paying people back. I give, give, give into my network and expect nothing in return; but it is a requirement of our network to pay it forward. Not that you are kicked out if you don’t… but if you don’t say thanks to someone who helps you, you are ultimately stunting your own growth in the end… might I add if you really get “paying it forward” it’s something you do regardless of manifested wealth anyway Trust me when I say Larry Hochman gets this principal very well. I am the recipient of his generosity of time, knowledge and gratitude. He’s making a different point to let me or whoever know that we don’t owe him or anyone else.
Larry: I think G. and I are barking up two sides of the same tree. Look around and you’ll see most people giving with the expectation of getting something back (cash or otherwise) or not wanting anything back because they don’t feel worthy of receiving…thus the reason I always say it’s harder for most people to receive than give. I see giving and receiving as perfectly balanced equation. They have to be…without a receive there’s no one to give to and vice versa. That doesn’t necessarily mean you give directly to the person who gave to you first. But it also doesn’t imply direct obligation to anyone in particular.
That said…if you don’t reciprocate, the pipeline to people giving to you shuts down. It’s universal law.
G: I’m intrigued by the fear of “owing” someone. Is it a fear of commitment? I’m not talking about people who give with the intent to entangle. But the original post said “you don’t owe anybody”–and yet society is built on a complex web of obligations, contracts and reciprocities. Can you really be part of a functioning society with everyone going around feeling that they “don’t owe anybody anything”?
A: We don’t do fear. It’s just the right thing to do. I don’t want anyone thanking me or paying me out of obligation, that’s not healthy for them. I want them to embrace gratitude and then go help the next person. If they paid for their service they owe me nothing and if I did it out of kindness I will get my reward. If it’s work for payment these days, it’s best to get your money up front or have really really good contracts and collections processes in place. I’m not exaggerating, I’ve had some major deals and jobs with big time organizations and the money still does not always come. You can’t live like that. You can not focus on work for pay being the only source of provision and you can’t hold over other people’s heads when you do nice things for them… it’s to their benefit to reciprocate, not yours. We each have our own lessons to learn. For some it’s being more generous and letting go of things, for others it’s learning to get paid for their work…. sometimes people owe you money, and you’re never gonna see it. What are you going to do then, stop living. No. You adjust, forgive and move on, cause if not you will be stunting yourself.
Part Three (and Last) is next .
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