“Nice guys finish last.” It’s the real-life version of reality TV’s favorite canard, “I’m not here to make friends” — and it’s probably just as useless as a personal motto. In his recent article in The Atlantic, Adam Grant argues that doing good things for others can have real benefits for your career — eventually.
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“In my book Give and Take, I report evidence that being a ‘giver’ who enjoys helping others can be inefficient in the short run but surprisingly productive in the long run,” writes Grant. “Givers tend to start out with lower sales revenue and lower medical school grades. In sales, givers often put their customers’ needs above their own sales targets. In medicine, before big exams, givers are so busy helping their friends study that they fail to fill the holes in their own understanding. Yet after a year in sales, the highest revenue belongs to those same generous people, and by the end of medical school, the top grades belong to the students with the most passion for helping others.”
Why does being generous with your time and resources benefit you over time?
1. It fosters better relationships.
The key to networking is building real relationships that count. To put it simply, people who like you are more willing to help you. By giving to others, you increase the odds that they’ll want to give back to you.
2. It improves motivation.
What inspires you to do your best work? It isn’t money, or at the very least, it isn’t only money. Giving to others gives you a better sense of your ability to create positive change in the world, which in turn motivates you to continue doing things that create that change.
3. It helps you learn new skills.
If you don’t offer to give others a hand, it’s easier to stay locked into your own skill set and silo, and never branch out. By extending yourself to help co-workers, connections, and friends, you boost your opportunities to learn something new — good for your resume, and for your future job satisfaction.
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