Max Out Life

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Three Words You Shouldn’t Say About Yourself

Facebook, Adam Grant, UPenn, LinkedIn

Hint: It is none of the words in this photo.

When we interact with other people, what do we want? As I started to study that question, I came across a wonderful quote. “There are two kinds of people in the world,” Robert Benchley wrote. “Those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t.”

Psychologists have a bad habit of oversimplifying people. If I truly wanted to capture the richness of the human condition, I needed more than two categories. Imagine my delight, then, when I found evidence that around the world, there are not two… but three styles of interaction.

In every culture, and every industry, research identifies givers, takers, and matchers. Givers are generous: they help others with no strings attached. Takers are selfish: they try to get as much as they can from others. Matchers are fair: I’ll do something for you, if you do something for me.

We all have moments of giving, taking, and matching. We also have a style, though, that reflects how we treat most of the people most of the time. Sometimes people asked me about my style, and I was quick to answer: “I’m a giver.” It was natural—helping others is my top guiding principle in life. I feel more comfortable when I’m on the giving side of an exchange. I don’t like trading favors or being transactional.

Read more at LinkedIn.com via Adam Grant (UPenn).

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2014 by in Career and tagged , , .
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