Adam Grant, in his book : "Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success" discusses many of the benefits of being a Giver. According to Grant (the youngest tenured Wharton Professor), we generally fall into one of three categories: Giver, Taker, or Matcher.
Takers feel no shame in taking what they can get with no obligation to give or help others in return.
Matchers live to be fair - you help me and I'll help you...to the same extent.
Givers tend to give because they can, with no ulterior motive.
To give without the expectation of anything in return feels good and puts a positive energy into the world. One of the most interesting examples of this is Adam Rifkin. In 2011, Rifkin was named as Fortune's Most Connected Man based on his LinkedIn connections to the 640 most powerful people on Fortune's lists.
How did he do it?
Rifkin, an entrepreneur, had a habit of giving. Through small acts of kindness and generosity, he developed a network of people who connected him to others. These connections resulted in investments in his businesses by venture capitalists. He, in turn, continued to advise others and connect people in his ever-expanding network.
Wayne Baker, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan, and his wife, Cheryl Baker, a social scientist created the concept of a reciprocity ring about 20 years ago. The concept is built on the idea that the collective knowledge and network of a group can help individuals in the group receive the help and resources they need. While the idea was originally thought of for business settings, it also works well in social groups. Adam Grant was a doctoral student of Baker's and brought the idea mainstream when he wrote about it in Give and Take.
Interested in learning more? Check out Givitas by Give and Take, the web platform that takes the reciprocity ring concept to the next level.
I am currently trying it out with my classmates in the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. I am hoping that this will be one of many ways we can stay connected after our graduation in a few weeks. And, yes, we were incredibly fortunate to have Adam Grant as one of our instructors!
Most people would agree that it simply feels good to help someone. Reading Grant's book (and meeting him) heightened my awareness and made me want to strive to be more of a Giver.
If you have had an experience with a reciprocity ring, I would love to hear about it!
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