Are you a giver or a taker? Deeply think about this. Do you often give to others without an agenda for reciprocation? Or do you make sure you are the winner in every transaction? Or are you a matcher, someone who gives as much as they get and maintains equanimity in their interactions? As I read Adam Grant’s new book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, these questions sizzle in my head. Throughout the day I size-up the individuals I encounter. Definitely a Taker…always there to extend a hand… giving but wants something from me.
Of course, I question my own placement. No one wants to admit being a Taker. Matchers seem common or slightly underachieving. I want to be a Giver, but am I?
I help others who have no means or plans to return the favor. I do what I can to help my friends feel good and suffer less. I volunteer at the school. Umm, I’m a generous tipper…
The truth is I could do so much more.
I give to my children —sometimes begrudgingly. My extended family gets the shaft. I don’t help them much at all because they are far away and my immediate responsibilities eat up a lot of my generosity and energy.
Introverts Must Mind Their Energy
Introverts constantly gauge the energy expended in relationships and activities. Even if the gauging occurs subconsciously, we care for ourselves by minding our reactions and energetic output. This is why introverts often limit themselves to dear and meaningful relationships. The reciprocation necessary to maintain countless minor relationships is daunting and potentially draining.
And yet… I want to do good things. I want to be present for many. I want to connect and foster connections for others.
I am a selective giver, which could be construed as a matcher, but I am not strategic about giving. I simply offer help/attention to the most in need or the ones I am closest to personally. I am not looking for a favor trade.
How Givers Affect the Work Environment
According to Grant, the majority of people are matchers at work. Competitive, self-interest based work environments encourage matching and taking. No one wants to be the ‘chump’ or doormat. In Give and Take, Grant says givers actually expand the success or glory pie for everyone by creating more opportunities for giving instead of claiming all the credit for themselves. Success is not a zero-sum game in Giving Land.
I watch my children hoard compliments and assistance as if passing them out somehow takes away from their own potential. I remember feeling the same way when I was young, maybe even into my 30s. :/
I eventually realized compliments are free gifts that lighten the load of others. They require very little effort (bonus for introvert energy reserves) and have instant impact. I later heard someone, possibly Oprah;), say, There is no limit to the amount of love and success in the world. The truth hit me. I didn’t have to beat others in order to succeed. I didn’t have to compete with others for love. There is an infinite supply of both. I can give love without fear of losing something for myself. All this sounds saintly and I can’t say that I embody these beliefs consistently, but I am aware of them. I aim to give freely but there is something that holds me back…
A need to replenish within.
Introverts Are Matchers?
I have to go internal in order to restock my personal supply of love, energy, imagination, creativity, giving ability. I need solitude or quiet meaningful connection in order to glow with giving.
I am a matcher with myself. I need equanimity between giving to others and giving to myself.
Surprise Bonuses of Giving
Givers land at the bottom AND top of the success ladder. The more frequent the giving the more likely the individual will be at the top of her game. Givers often reap rewards for their kindness (even though they don’t require them), but it takes time. Givers receive rewards in the longterm.
Personally, I have added more lovelies and socializing to my world lately. I’ve noticed something fascinating. My energy is expanding along with my social circle. I am not drained by the additional people. I am choosing energizing and giving individuals. Their giving nature is contagious. The activities can still wear me down but I mindfully seek space between them, space to breathe, reflect and renew my generosity.
How giving are you? Are your closest friends givers, takers or matchers?
- Givers, Takers, and Matchers: The Surprising Science of Success (brainpickings.org)
- Give. And give. And give more. (davidkanigan.com)
- What’s Wonderful? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (space2live)
- Introvert Relationships: Love Me or Leave Me But Please Don’t Need Me (Too Much) (space2live)
- Awareness, Introversion and Leadership: Thoughts Inspired by Deepak Chopra (space2live)