Image by FÃ¡bio Pinheiro.
“Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.”
“This communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half.”
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”
How do you become a successful blogger?
The first answer that super-successful people like Steve Pavlina, Darren Rowse or Leo Babauta may offer you is probably to create and give value. If you give some kind of useful value to people then they are open and interested in reading your blog and recommending it to their friends.
You may give them practical tips for improving your life like this blog does. Or review the latest video-games for the gamer crowd. Or provide the latest scoops about Britney for people interested in gossip about celebrities.
Now, you may not be a blogger. But bloggers are basically just people in interactions or conversations with other people. Just like you are with your friends, family, co-workers, school mates or whoever you are hanging out and interacting with.
In blogging giving value may be one of the three things I suggested above. In your daily life it may be things like:
- Bringing a positive attitude and vibe into interactions.
- Offering useful advice or knowledge to someone.
- Just offering a listening ear to someone who needs it.
- Cheering someone up.
- Helping someone out with moving, cooking, cleaning up etc.
- Taking the lead and creating a fun situation for your friends such as a picnic or a night out on the town.
- Being totally present in conversation and focused on the other person. This is a quality that I believe is often mentioned about networkers that are great at creating new relationships like Bill Clinton.
Now, why should you go to all that trouble and effort? It’s easier to just get people to do those things for you instead. Well, here are four reasons.
1. It makes you feel awesome.
It’s funny, for quite a long time I thought that the way to feel better was to get people to give me things. To give me some kind of value.
And that makes you feel good. For a short while. Then your emotions kinda snaps the other way like a rubber band. And, once again, you don’t feel so good.
Why? Well, you are taking these things and adding them to yourself. But the ego always wants more. The positive feelings you get from whatever you are given wears off pretty quickly. And so you want people to give you more value again. It’s like when you buy a new shirt or pair of shoes. You feel great about them for a while but after that they lose their magic. They become “normal”. And so you go the store again.
Now, giving value is to a better way to feel good. You control how much value you want to give and how you feel. It’s a more consistent way to feel good. To me it’s almost always more powerful than the quick hits of positive emotions you get from getting value.
But it’s a bit counter-intuitive. When you’re feeling down, it seems pretty natural to need a compliment to feel better instead of giving someone a compliment. So I have an external reminder in the form of a post-it note on my desk that says: ”Feeling bad? Give value.”
2. You tend to get what you give.
People often have a strong feeling of wanting to give what they got. Perhaps not right away, but over time reciprocity and a positive relationship can build. And in general, what you give you tend to get back from the world around you.
I try to avoid keeping this in the forefront of my mind while giving value though.
It’s a good idea to do so because if you don’t then it may make whatever you doing seem insincere. Like you are just out to get something from the other person. And if you are just doing things for people to get them to do things for you then you may not feel so good about yourself and become a bit negative, irritated or needy.
Some people won’t reciprocate. They may be totally stuck in a sucking value kind of mode. And well, in time you may naturally feel inclined to give more value to and hang out with people that reciprocate and offer value to you.
3. It makes your life a whole lot more fun.
By giving value in a genuine way you tend to take more action than if you are waiting for someone to give you value. And by taking more action and giving more value you tend to – over time – create more interesting and fun situations. Because more action leads to more things happening and more value given leads to more reciprocation from other people.
And since you feel awesome from giving value that emotion is of course contagious. So you and the people around feel better and tend to get into a more positive and open mood and frame of mind.
4. It makes it easier to start new relationships.
Much of this post is about improving your relationships with people. But it’s also a good way to start a relationship.
If you read any blogs about blogging then you may have read that a not so useful way to email a blogger and create a relationship with that person is to just ask him/her to do something for you. I agree with that.
If someone sends me an email where s/he offers value – perhaps give me a compliment, constructive criticism, offers to help if I would need it in the future – I tend to feel grateful and think that this person who emailed me is a cool and sympathetic person. If I, on the other hand, get an email where someone just wants me to do this or that then that’s often a bit of a turn-off. I think this is true in off-line interactions too.
Now, how can you bring more value into the lives of the people around you? Think about it from time to time. And take action on your ideas.
And remember what Seneca said.
“It is another’s fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so.”
Even though people may not appreciate the value you give you can still feel good about yourself. Their reaction and response is their business. Not a always an easy lesson to incorporate into your own life. But a useful one to keep your mood and belief in yourself from going on an emotional rollercoaster controlled by other people’s responses to what you do.
Like so many other thought habits, this one can take time to change. Over time you can become more and more of person that gives value instead of doing the opposite. And if you are anything like me then you’ll slip many times and fall back into the value sucking mode. And that is one reason why I wrote this article. To remind myself of how I can quickly turn a negative mood around and overall make my life a more positive place to be.
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