I had an interesting conversation with my mentor the other day about The Law of Receptivity from Bob Burg and John David Mann’s book The Go Giver.
The fifth law from The Go Giver is the Law of Receptivity:
The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving
Jim Rohn said something very similar:
Giving is better than receiving, because giving starts the receiving process
Zig Ziglar famously said:
You can have everything you want in life if you will help enough people get what they want
Being a Go Giver is all about giving value to others. Receiving can be a little counter intuitive at first, until you realise some that, in order for something to be given, it must be received. Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that when one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body. If we focus that law on giving, it means that if I am to give something to you, then you have to receive it.
When we focus on someone else’s needs, we push aside any negative emotions we are feeling and feel a “Helper’s High”. We can feel good about ourselves for having given – but how do we open ourselves to receiving?
One way to make us ready for receiving is to practice gratitude. Let me give an example of gratitude in a personal relationship. It is all too easy to focus on the little annoying things like the toilet seat left up or a dirty cup not put in the dishwasher and develop an unhealthy spiral of negative thoughts. Focus instead on the great things your partner does right – the smile, the hot cup of coffee they brought you or the nice meal they cooked. Some time ago, having been inspired by Darren Hardy’s suggestion in his book The Compound Effect, I started journaling about gratitude. Every day, I jotted down one or two things that my wife did for which I was grateful. Very soon, my whole attitude changed to one of thanks. I rediscovered how amazing she is! Once I began to focus on gratitude, I began to receive more love. The love was always there – I just wasn’t open to receiving it.
The same principles apply in other aspects of life – in business, with friends and with other family members. Zig Ziglar told the story of a woman with hardening of the attitude. She hated everything about her job until Zig opened her eyes to all the aspects to be thankful for.
When someone gives you a gift, how do you express your gratitude? Do you say “that’s too much” or “you shouldn’t have”? When you respond in that way, not only do you fool yourself into valuing the gift less (receiving lower perceived value) but you put out a negative signal to the giver. Instead, be open to receive. Say a genuine, heartfelt “thank you, that is so generous” or “thank you, I love it”. You will feel better about receiving and you will make the giver feel more appreciated. Going back to our friend, Newton, what goes around, comes around. Be grateful, truly grateful, and you will open yourself to receive and then you will be in a better place to give, as well.