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  • Writer's pictureBassam Tarazi

This Counterintuitive 4-Letter Word Is The Key To Getting What You Want

For a lot of us, we think success is a dish best served...with our own hands. It’s about putting our head down, blowing through impediments and out hustling the person next to us. In fact, some guy two weeks ago was babbling about how people need to be more competitive.

It’s no doubt that grit is the most important inward 4-letter word when it comes to personal success, but I’m finding more and more that it is another 4-letter word, with an outward tilt, that is even more important.


Give what? Your time, your resources, your knowledge, your know-how. Everything.

Adam Grant, the author of: Give and Take (if you don’t have time, read the shorter NY Times article about his work) says:

Helping is not the enemy of productivity; it is the mother lode, the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity....Focusing on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.

But if we’re giving all the time, how are we ever going to work on our own stuff and take care of ourselves? Won’t the deeply competitive people start using our good deeds (and our heads) as trampolines?

It doesn’t have to be so. Being selfish is not a synonym for being competitive.

You can still look out for "you" without looking like an asshole.

Even Grant says that the most successful “givers” also have a strong sense of self-interest (Hi, grit).

Rachel Botsman & Roo Rogers take it one step further and say: “Self-interest and collective good depend on each other.”

How Giving Benefits YouIt forces you to speak and share ideas clearly. When you think about someone else’s problem, it  helps you think about yours.

One of the best things you can do for your ideas is develop the capacity to tune in to the perspectives of others - and to help others tune in to yours. - Scott Belsky in Making Ideas Happen

It makes you happier.

Allan Luks, researcher and author of The Healing Power of Doing Good, “studied thousands of volunteers and discovered that they achieved a “helper’s high” that was very similar to what a person experiences after a long run. It’s a euphoric feeling that, unlike “runner’s high,” lasts for several weeks.” - Tim Sanders in Today We Are Rich

People are dying to reciprocate.

If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want. - Zig ZiglarFeedback is an asset, a form of non-financial compensation. - Scott Belsky 

As all things 80/20, see if you can start by spending your moments working 4 hours for you and 1 hour for someone else. That’s the challenge.

I promise you you will feel better about it. I promise you your relationships will improve. I promise you it will enrich you to then go back and focus on your projects.

So give. For Pete’s sake (or heaven’s, depending on your belief system), give. I am still more selfish than I want to be. I am not blind to that fact, but I’m improving that everyday and seeing the joys I get out of helping people navigate their problems and opportunities in life.

And sometimes working on your own stuff is flat out exhausting. It gets old. Be part of someone else’s story as much as you can.

You can do good things for yourself and still make the world a better place for everyone else.  In fact, the goal is to find as much convergence as possible between these values...Most of us are not ultimately happy with a life that is completely self-centered. Instead, our lives become most meaningful when we combine our own desires with an active strategy to help other people at the same time. - Chris Guillebeau, in The Art Of Non-Conformity

It's Your Chance To Give Back & Receive Help

The above reasons are precisely why, Antonio Neves and I created The Ignition Lab. We wanted to give you the experience of a lifetime on the Central American Coast. And it's where you give your peers all of you 80% of the time, and 20% of the time you are receiving help and insight from 7 people who are aching to support you in any way possible.

General applications are open until Sunday 8/18/13 at midnight. Come be part of everyone else’s story and let them be part of yours. Enter your email directly below to receive the application.

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