Wright Foundation | April 17, 2018

Get More Out of Life:
Are You a Net Giver?

When it comes to power, are you a net giver?

Friends take care of each other. Can you get more out of life by being a net giver?


If you’re not, you’re a net taker. When it comes to giving power in the world, there is no net neutral.

Each of us has profound personal power and influence. We get more out of life and become our best-selves when we’re aware of others and contributing…yet continuing to value ourselves and seeking to meet our own needs.

Many of us undervalue ourselves. We believe our needs and wants should come second to others (some would even place our own wants and needs third, after attempting to meet the wants of a higher-power). While giving to others and following our spiritual beliefs is, of course important, we can only become fulfilled if we’re also meeting our own needs and potential.

Before we’re able to realize and fulfill greater needs beyond ourselves, we must find fulfillment within. We must discover our purpose to get more out of life.

Understanding Your Personal Power and Value

Do you know what your value is? Many of us aren’t aware of our potential or our profound value. Inside each of us is the ability to influence and change the world. Just think of that for a moment.

You have a basic inalienable right to discover and fulfill your potential. And to exercise that right, you must transform and evolve from who you’ve been to who you could become.
This sentiment has been echoed throughout the millennia as man has sought to discover what makes a good life. For the ancient Greeks the good life was arete—often translated as virtue, but more accurately, it means reaching your highest potential. The goal of life for the ancient Greeks wasn’t happiness or contentment, but rather human flourishing—eudaimonia—the actualization of our distinctive function and capacities and living up to our potential.
Every religion and every spiritual teacher—whether Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha or the saints as they followed the call to unknown lands and possibilities—teaches us to develop the discipline to live good lives, to become enlightened and aware, to break through illusion (what the Hindus call Maya), to align with higher principles, to make the most out of our lives, and to become the best people we can be…
…[Those who] study the good life, discover that it entails engaging, finding meaning and having the opportunity to improve our lives. They have definitively proven that it is not what we buy or have, but who we are and what we experience, that brings us satisfaction.
–Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

In each and every interaction we have, from bumping into an officemate in the elevator, the barista at the coffee shop, or a fellow passenger on the train, we have the ability to connect, engage, and bring deeper meaning and purpose to the moment. With each interaction we can discover more about others as well as ourselves and bring more satisfaction into our lives.

Reflect on your conversations—do you have conversations that actually have a purpose? Do you talk about the weather, sports, or last nights’ results on The Voice?

Our conversations are powerful, influential, and deep opportunities for engagement, provided they’re imbued with purpose. Do you identify what you want in conversation? Do you express and fight for the truth? Do you share what you’re facing and dealing with in your life and invite others to talk and share about meaningful aspects of their own lives? Their interactions with their kids, their spouse, work, and the community-at-large?

The first question to ask yourself before any interaction is: am I looking for the meaningful?

Are you examining and discussing what’s meaningful in your life and in the lives of those you’re talking to?

The Engagement Continuum

In our work at Wright, we look at a spectrum of engagement we refer to as the Engagement Continuum. Across the Continuum there are many different interactions. Ordering your coffee in the morning might fall on the transactional side of the continuum.

This graphic explains the spectrum of engagement, know as the Engagement Continuum.

There’s nothing wrong, per se, with transactional engagement, but there’s no depth. We’re sharing niceties out of routine. We’re talking about the weather, the game, the time of day, or how we want our latte.

Have you ever been taken aback when a cashier looks you in the eye and asks you a “real” question? For most of us it might feel odd—even awkward. “How are you really feeling today? Is everything okay? How do you feel about that?”

We’re so used to mis-engaging and interacting on autopilot that real engagement—transformational engagement on the Continuum—feels strange. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and into a place where we’re talking about real, meaningful emotions. We’re focused on each other. We’re discussing who we are, what we care about, and what we and the other person wants.

There is great power in higher level engagement.

When we’re engaged on the constructive side of the Continuum, we can reach the highest level of engagement—where we’re sharing a mutual higher purpose. We’re supporting the needs of others, they’re supporting us. This level of engagement is transformative and helps you emerge as a better, more spectacular, more fulfilled version of yourself. It helps you get more out of life.

The only way we can become our best self is when we’re aware of others. When we’re engaging with those around us, connecting, and finding ways to contribute to our world. Since we all possess this profound level of influence—the ability to change someone’s mood, enhance their day, connect and even change their path—tapping into who we are only strengthens our power.

Be Your Best to Give Your Best

Think of a musician or an artist. By becoming the best version of who they are, they’re perfecting their craft. They’re practicing, strengthening their skills. They’re honing their talents. As they grow and become better at their art, they’re able to use this increased depth and talent to support others. They share their music and in turn give back to the world.

Similarly, we’re all artists and architects of our own lives. As we sculpt, design and build our best lives, we’re able to increase our positive influence on the world around us. As our confidence increases, our power increases. As our power grows, so does our influence.

Mistakenly some believe giving to others means being ultra-selfless. We should give to others, expecting nothing in return and even at our own expense. But like an oxygen mask on an airplane, we need to put on our own mask before we help others. If we’re depleted and neglecting ourselves, we can’t give back to those around us. If we zone ourselves out on soft addictions, settle for “Facebook friend” level interactions and fall into routine, we’re not pushing ourselves to grow and evolve.

Like attracts like and the way we treat ourselves is reflected in those around us. If we’re putting ourselves out there, going for it—asking for what we need and wielding our influence as a positive force for good, we’ll draw in MORE of the same.

People are drawn to our radiance. Those around us will want to help us fulfill our deep wants and yearnings because we’re helping to fulfill theirs. If we bring purpose and value into our engagement with others, we will enliven, energize, and ignite others. We will inspire and influence those in our circle and beyond.

If you’re ready to change your world, discover your greater purpose, and push yourself toward deeper engagement, then get out there and go for what you want. Become more open, honest, authentic, and engaged.

To learn how you can get even more out of life, please visit our website. Join us for an upcoming networking event. We’re also pleased to offer many of our great classes and lectures available for download as well. This is a new feature, available at a special introductory price, so don’t miss out!

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.