Be Generous (Help Yourself)

I don’t mean go and offer a random person a can of coke (even though, according to Robert Cialdini, this could help you sell them more raffle tickets*).

I mean be generous with offering help and advice.

The last time I got this advice was a few days ago at the beginning of Seth Godin’s online course “Podcast Fellowship”. Right after I paid $430, he asked me (from a video) to be generous with my time and offer help to other participants in the course.

Now, really? I’ve just been charged an equivalent of 43 lunches at Torchy’s Tacos and I should be generous on top of that?

An explanation follows: Answering other people’s questions and helping them solve their problems is (according to Seth Godin) the best way to get focused, practice problem solving and clarify your own thinking.

Why not try: I’m browsing the discussion threads, and try to answer, challenge and cheer my fellow online students on. And indeed: Answering questions of others I understand better what I want; by challenging them I realize that my own plans are not bullet-proof; by cheering them I find reasons for myself to invest more energy into this course.

I am helping them, but even more, I am helping myself.

So can you. Giving a training for example. You can pick-up a topic – prepare it – and deliver it. Perhaps for your Club. Perhaps at work. Perhaps at a local University or in a business accelerator.

That you’re not an expert yet? Even better: You can be even a bit more generous, study a new topic, test it in practice and share your observations. You can rarely find a better opportunity to learn something than teaching it.

I can’t guarantee you’ll sell any raffle tickets; but you’ll win big time anyway.

Note: In his book Influence, Robert Cialdini writes about an experiment where offering a can of coke to a stranger made them more willing to return the favor, even on a significantly larger scale – such as buying raffle tickets.

Photo by Alex Gorey on Unsplash

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