Overly Selfless, Giving People Are Not the Most Successful

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praying woman

Staff Blogger

You have probably heard the phrase, “It’s better to give than receive.” Did you know that being generous can help you succeed in the world? People who are more generous than those who believe it’s an eat or be eaten world will do much better in life. Wharton Professor, Adam Grant, is the youngest tenured professor at Wharton at just 31 years old and consults with large companies such as Google and Merck. He shares that he got to this point by being generous.

Grant says there are three types of people: Givers, people who are self-protective takers, and those who he calls ‘matchers’ who find a balance between the give and take. Grant did a study of salespeople in North Carolina where he gave them a ‘giver score’ that calculated the extent of their willingness to help others rather than helping themselves.

In this study Grant found that salespeople that had a 25% higher score than the others didn’t sell as well because they were too concerned for the customers and didn’t sell aggressively enough. Surprisingly enough however, some of the top performers were givers and they had 50% more annual revenue than the others. So how do the givers end up on top? Grant breaks the method into seven different approaches:

  1. Don’t be completely selfless
  2. Find a way to see the impact you are making
  3. Shift the focus of your giving
  4. “Chunk” your giving (do it all in one day instead of spreading out)
  5. Volunteer at least 100 hours per year
  6. Volunteer to do something that is meaningful to you
  7. Ask for help from colleagues
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