A very successful real estate agent in the SF bay area told me his story one day.
He hustled his way into the top success in his 30’s and 40’s. He out-hustled everybody and secured best deals using sharp elbows. He became more successful than he had ever imagined when he started out.
Towards the end of his 40’s, he started searching for more meaning, and he went on a church mission trip to a Native American reservation.
That single trip changed his entire life perspective. The people were poor and underprivileged but every single one of them seemed happier than he was.
After coming back, he started doing business in a very different way. He started giving deals to his competitors. No matter who he met, his first thought was “How can I help this person, truly and genuinely?”
What happened in the next few years was his business doubled, tripled. He was determined to give away business, but he got more business back.
That’s the real life example of what Adam Grant talks about in his book, Give and Take. Givers eventually become more successful, etc.
But if the story just ends here, I think it’s only part of the picture.
I think what’s really important is be selective and be a private giver, not a public giver. Because making public the fact that you’re opening yourself up and willing to give might lead to wrong expectations.
There are people who appreciate the help and want to return the help, and (unfortunately) there are people who take things for granted and get pissed off when they think they’re getting less help compared to other people.
I personally have experience where I helped someone 7 times, and 1 time I couldn’t help, they remember me for that one single time.
I gave a generous stock option to an advisor even though he didn’t do much for the company, and when our company got acquired, he texted me literally every single day to ask when the money will be wired to his account, like I owe him something. The sense of entitlement and lack of appreciation was appalling beyond words.
So build your tribe w/ people you can trust and be a giver to them primarily. If someone in the tribe doesn’t have capacity to truly appreciate your help, they’re out. Don’t try to please everybody – otherwise all kinds of random people will show up and expect/demand help from you, which will eventually drag you down.