Giving somebody what we think is good for them is the anti gift

It’s not generosity, it’s a performance

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Giving somebody what we think is good for them is the anti gift.

It’s not generous, it’s just a performance. A gesture that has nothing to do with them. A projection of our own autobiography onto their unique situation.

And even if it comes from a place of our genuine desire to help, what we end up communicating is that we want to change people. Which comes from our desire to control them. To clone them in our own image.

I once gave my girlfriend an elliptical machine for her birthday. Which even asked for.

Huge mistake. I can’t even believe how insensitive of a gesture that was. Never buy a woman exercise equipment.

But that’s who I was at the time. A chronic fixer. I had no idea that we don’t get to set other people’s goals and we can’t take people where they don’t want to go.

Because what we want for their best isn’t necessarily what they want.

The same thing goes for advice. Did you ever notice that it only works for the people who give it? It’s best received when asked for. Any moment before that and it’s useless.

The point is, each human being rests at the nexus of a vast number of interwoven causes and conditions that influence their behavior. And it’s not our job to support their escape from their own freedom.

The gift is when we give them the capacity to create the world from their own resources.

What happened to the last person you tried to fix?

For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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