Posts published on March 2016

Why Giving Can Be More Rewarding Than You Think

Emotional Intelligence

Giving has a bad reputation. We often equate generosity with being weak or yielding to pressure too easily. Givers are sometimes seen as doormats who will concede to any request to avoid conflict or gain others’ approval. But that’s not always the case. Giving can be very rewarding. Here’s why:

1. Giving makes you feel good

Yes, helping others can drain you. But it can also energize you.

Business professor Adam Grant makes the distinction between selfless, selfish, and otherish givers.

Selfless givers put other people’s interests above their own. This makes them feel burned out, disappointed, and like they can never give enough. 

Selfish givers help to get something in return. 

Otherish givers look for ways to help others that are either low cost or even high benefit to themselves — “win-win,” as opposed to “win-lose”. They choose their causes carefully and make sure that giving enhances their self-worth. As a result, they feel energized and motivated to give even more.

To maintain the balance of being generous with taking care of yourself, become an otherish giver, helping in ways that are meaningful to you, and that benefit more than hurt you.

2. Giving helps you achieve more

You accomplish more through collaboration than through competition.

Imagine the following scenario: ten people enter a contest to solve a puzzle for the prize of one million dollars. They are told to use any resource available in the room.

They look around and notice that there aren’t any books, computers, or calculators. Immediately, some of them start working on their own. The others rearrange their chairs in a circle and start sharing their ideas.

Four hours later, the participants who worked together are the ones who arrive at a solution and share the prize. The remaining contestants have either given up or are still struggling on their own.

In Grant’s terminology, the competitors were takers, while the collaborators were givers. Takers focus solely on rewards. Givers focus on finding solutions. 

Though givers aren’t thinking of rewards, they ultimately are rewarded as a consequence of helping others. Collaborate more, compete less, and you’ll reap more benefits in the long-run.

3. Giving helps you build and maintain relationships

Giving establishes powerful connections between people.

When someone is generous, word spreads about it quickly. A generous person’s network expands as others discover their role as a giver. Those who aren’t in their network want to become a part of it. Those who are go at great lengths to remain.

Eventually, giving spreads as the norm. By giving, a generous person eventually creates a community of givers on which he or she can rely in times of need.

So be generous. You’ll inspire others to do the same. Which essentially means you’ll have generous people to turn to should you need support in the future.

Sum up:

  • Find a meaningful cause. Give your time and energy to support something you feel strongly about. 
  • Collaborate more, compete less. Find opportunities to combine skills and resources with others rather than reaping individual rewards in every situation.
  • Be kind. Ask a friend how their day went. Help your new coworker figure out software they’ve never used before. Give someone your undivided attention. 

Already a giver? Let us know how you give and how has giving has helped you in the comment section below.

Sonia Codreanu
Sonia Codreanu
Psychometrics Analyst at Wonder
Sonia Codreanu is a psychology student at the University of Bath and a psychometrics analyst for Wonder. She's passionate about personality testing and investigates innovative ways in which it can be used to improve human performance and connection. In her spare time, she loves dancing.

The 3-Step Formula To Achieving Your Goals

Motivation

Writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them. Sharing them with a friend helps increase those chances even more. Doing both of these things — plus sending the friend a weekly update — makes failing much more difficult, says a new study from Dominican University.

The study, led by Dr. Gail Matthews, professor of Psychology at Dominican, tested the impact of writing down of your goals, making your commitments public, and holding yourself accountable on goal achievement.

Over 100 people took part. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of five groups and used none, one, or a combination of goal setting strategies, according to the division below:

Group 1 members kept their goals to themselves;

Group 2 members wrote them down;

Group 3 members wrote them down, adding action items;

Group 4 members shared the goals with a friend;

Group 5 members wrote down the goals, shared them with a friend, and sent that friend weekly updates.

At the end, more than 70% of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend (Group 5) accomplished their goals, compared to 35% of those in the group that kept their goals to themselves and didn’t write them down (Group 1).

These findings suggest that setting goals is just the beginning. To achieve them, it helps to take these three steps:

1. Put your goals in writing.
Some experts also suggest adding action items and giving each one a deadline.

2. Make your commitment public.
According to the study, sharing your intention with just one supportive friend works.

3. Hold yourself accountable.
Give a friend a weekly update on how you’re doing. This step is crucial, so don’t even think about skipping it! If you think you’ll cheat on this one, ask your friend to ask you for news.

For a summary of the study, click here.

What are your goals for this month? This semester? This year? Make your commitments public by posting them in the comments below!

Marcelle Santos
Marcelle Santos
Mars turns complicated ideas into content that's easy to understand and interesting to follow. At Wonder, she's diving deep into emotional intelligence and the psychology of relationships to come up with what she hopes is useful and inspiring information for users of the Wonder app.