Can We Change the Future?

True gifts bring people closer together. An unconditional gift, one given with nothing expected in return, can change everything. It creates conversations and spreads ideas. It opens doors and creates forward motion.

Seth Godin

When starting something new, whether it’s our own entrepreneurial journey, a job working for someone else, a personal or professional relationship, or any situation where we’re interacting with someone else, all too often we try to establish compensatory relationships: I’ll do something for you if you do something for me in return.

We tell ourselves that’s how the world works, and we’re right. It’s what everyone expects.

But what if we did something different?

Instead of expecting something in return, what if we just did something nice for that other person? What if we just gave them a gift? Not a literal present, like a box wrapped up with a pretty bow, but simply something unexpected.

Maybe we show or teach them something that ends up making their job easier. Maybe we offer assistance with some difficult task or help them out of a challenging situation, or maybe we just offer some kind words on a stressful day, and don’t immediately hit them up for compensation.

They wouldn’t know what to make of us!

They were nice to us, but didn’t ask for anything in return! That’s not normal; that’s not how it usually works. I’m gonna have to think about that for a while so I can figure out what’s going on.

And that’s the unspoken compensation we were looking for all along: for them to think about us. Change the normal conversation and we may change our future.

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