I’ve always found the phrase “giving is better than receiving” weird.

Why would giving be better than receiving?

First off, I certainly wouldn’t give away anything valuable to a total stranger. Why? Cause I don’t know them! Secondly, if I can have it for myself, to keep it or cherish it as my own, why would I want to give it away? Thirdly, if I worked hard to get something, I’d definitely not share it away, I’d be screaming “go and figure it out yourself!”

I read a book recently, “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.

And well, I haven’t changed. Much.

This is not some sort of “Oh, I read a book the other day, it changes my life and now I’m a whole new person!” post.

The book, about an hour read, weaves a fictional story about a character that transformed from only expecting to get and receive, to giving as well. And, it covers the so-called “Five Laws of Stratospheric Success” mindsets.

Was it a great read? Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the way these mindsets are instilled into the story.

Was it inspiring? Yes, it was. But, it didn’t make a full transformation on me.

Why? Let me share what the five laws did.


The Law of Value

you give value

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

The Go-Giver

It’s essentially depicting that we should add more values on others, or things that we are involved in.

What does that mean? Do more than what you expected of. That makes you stand out, but it also does a great help to others in ways you wouldn’t expect. It doesn’t hurt to be kind and take that one more extra step. It’s all good on paper, but it doesn’t sound too practical unless it was applied in real life. And that’s what I did.

Using the university break that I’m currently having now, I took up tutoring job of 11-12 years old students. My job was simple: digest the material of the subject for the day, teach, and coach them. That was all my job scopes. I didn’t need to do more; I simply don’t get paid for doing more.

But the students I’m teaching are going to have government standardized exam soon, and one flaw that I noticed teaching them over one month is their vocabulary: they can’t answer questions because they don’t know what the questions mean. So, I made a list of common vocabularies that I explained on class with their corresponding meaning, and handed it to my employer.

She looked at me, pleased but shocked. There was a brief pause, “Oh. This is great, this is really great,” and she repeated the same word as I continued to explain what I included in the list. “I’ve always wanted to make this, synonyms and antonyms,” she said in the end.

Then she looked at me in the eyes and she smiled, “Thank you, Ethan. Really. This would be very useful for them.”

I sent her a word file later that night; she double-checked it, edited some then printed tens of copies of it and let me hand it to my students the next day.


The Law of Compensation

those hectic bunch

Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

The Go-Giver

I intended to kill two birds with one stone to realize this law. By handing out the more polished and organized list of vocabulary to my students, even though I was not paid to do it, I just hope that it would be useful for them in facing their exams. Even if just one of them thought of the words that they read and understand from the list, getting just a one more point for their exam, I’d be glad that I ever spent my entire morning compiling the list.


The Law of Influence

there, there, thanks!

Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

The Go-Giver

Starting from this law, I noticed something: not only me but we have all been applying this law all along. Even things as simple as doing chores voluntarily, getting a cup of coffee for your seemingly tired friend while you went to convenience store, generally any thing that you did without asking for returns. Without, keeping scores.

That just represents how magnetic you are, and can be, because everyone should how good it feels when someone cares about you without asking that you care for them back. And, this influences others’ mood or perspectives, for the better, while making you a more reliable, lovable person as well.


The Law of Authenticity

The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

The Go-Giver

I truly believe that words can change people. Not because of what you said, but because it is you who said it. Be it positive or negative, it is you who they already bonded with, understood, and discovered of. People are considered genuine not because they can talk about anything, but because they are willing to talk about anything with you. They crossed that boundary to pour their hearts out and share their deepest feelings.

And sometimes, we couldn’t help but get attracted to them.

And reciprocate this feeling, offering ourselves back.


The Law of Receptivity

and here we are again

The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

The Go-Giver

Essentially, the act of giving is not a noble act. We selectively give and receive every day, without us realizing it. Some of us give more, while some receive more. But at the end of the day, it’s all balanced out.

But, just think about it, if we give more, to more people then we might receive more in turn. It’s not a complicated business skill. It’s just simple math. One that we are not aware of, or actively engaged in. Because if we do, then we might just find ourselves living in this world a little bit different, maybe putting a wider smile on our face as well.


The Go-Giver

one simple act amidst the scary world

It’s a well-crafted book. It definitely provoked some thoughts and introduced some new perspectives into the act of giving.

But, I still haven’t changed much by it. Unlike flu, I doubt its effect will be apparent within a few days and I think that’s the whole point of it. That’s the beauty of it.

It isn’t an illness that only lasts temporary, but a mindset to live with, to continually apply for.

Because when I handed that note, I also smiled.

I realized that everyone likes to be appreciated. To give, is to put values on others, to appreciate them and their work.

Now, that’s just inspiring, isn’t it?