Saturday, 24 February 2007

Genuine Generosity

Have you ever done something good for people and hoping the other person will appreciate it? Have you ever go all out and help someone but later regret (maybe, a bit) because the inconveniences it bring to you and the continuous expectations of the person to get your help?

In my opinion, there are not a lot of genuine generosities you can find from people. Almost all people who are generous to you actually expect something in returns (okay, maybe except Mother Theresa and a bunch of Saints). The returns can be something as small as the phrase “Thank you” and showing of appreciations. Anyhow, returns are expected. This is actually human nature, something unconscious that make us hope for something in returns even though every self-development book will ask us to always give and not hoping for any returns.

Ask yourself this:
Do you ever give someone a small favour and when the person do not thank you or act in a way that does not show his appreciation, you told yourself, you would not give anymore favour to this person again?

Stephen Covey in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” talked about Emotional Bank Account where you make a “deposit” to the emotional bank account when you build up a reserve of things like trust, kindness, honesty and communication with the person. The account’s reserve will help you when you want to make a “withdrawal”, that is, asking a favour in return . Maybe even hurt the person’s feeling and then expect to be forgiven because you have, in fact, deposit a lot into the emotional bank account with this person.

Now, let me go through some examples with you to support my points:

  • Employer that pays their employees well but expect them to work 70 Hours per week or worse, scold them everyday and micro-manage them.
  • Boyfriend that feel fair to show his bad mood and lash out at his girlfriend when she makes simple mistakes and expect his girlfriend to endure it because after all, the he had given her rides, visited her parents, and buys her gifts.
  • Husbands that pay his wife well, buy diamonds, expensive gifts for his wife to make himself feel all right to have other affairs outside.
  • A speaker who spoke for a group at an event for free, but vowed never to speak for that group again when he never received a single “thank-you” email or letter from the group.

I felt compelled to remind people of this:

When you have done something good to another person, DO NOT TREAT the person like CRAP and expect his/her to take it because you have done something good before.

It does not make you a KING when you help people. So, do not BEHAVE like one, like people automatically OWE you something.

And, lastly, always apologize when you make a withdrawal. Do not expect people to forgive you because people SHOULD be GRATEFUL for all things you done for them.

Use the Emotional Bank Account principle wisely!

On other notes, Stephen Covey also mentions “What might be a deposit for you could be a withdrawal for someone else”, which I found is very true, but I am not going to go into this now.

In the nutshell, always try to show genuine generosity. If you cannot do that, do not try to be generous!

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