Traditional economics teaches that you can’t get what you want without taking it from someone else. In other words, more for me means less for you, and more for you means less for me. It’s a zero-sum game.
The reality, however, especially in the new paradigm, is far different. I've discovered that the key to having what you want is giving (as opposed to taking) it — especially when it's hard.
Let's imagine you want more money. My advice is to find someone who has less than you, and give money to her. Think you don't have enough to give? Look around you and see how much you actually have right now. Make an inventory of all your resources — including everything in the bank, in your sock drawer, in retirement accounts, in bonds not yet cashed, and stashed away resources you promised you wouldn't touch. Next, add in non-financial assets such as your family, friends, skills, talents, gifts, natural abilities, and education. Now, look at your connections, experiences, and life history. List it all. List your credit score (if it's good enough to leverage) or other access to borrowing, real estate, even your great ideas.
Notice how rich you really are. And then give what you want.
One of the most powerful ways to reap the benefits of giving is to do so in the context of conflict. Identify somewhere you are in conflict in your life — somewhere you are holding on tight to something you think is your right, something you think you must win, or something you think you must have because, well, just because. Give that — truly. Give it up. Let it go. Drop it. Put it down. Then watch it free up your life. You will be surprised by how much more pours in, and the space you have opened up for what you really want.
Don’t believe me? Here are two real-life examples where giving money away turned into millions for the people who applied this guidance in their lives.
1. One client, Lisa, called me in the days before a major work event she was hosting. Her dad had recently died and she was in the midst of a conflict with her brother about her dad’s house and belongings. I took Lisa through a process of envisioning what she really wanted and how she could give exactly that to her brother. She did, and she released the conflict, giving her brother full control over her father’s estate. At worst, she would lose $100,000.
In the end, by “giving” away the money she was fighting over, Lisa was able to focus on her event and made $1 million that weekend. It wouldn’t have happened had she been splitting her energy between the event and the conflict with her brother. By giving what she wanted (i.e., more money), she freed up the space to bring in 10 times what she would potentially lose.
2. When I was going through my divorce, traditional advice from lawyers and friends dictated “fighting for my rights.” My husband was a stay-at-home dad, had money coming in from a trust fund, and could easily go out and get a job. They told me that I shouldn’t have to give him anything. But the energy drain from fighting with my husband was taking so much from me.
One night, when I was praying for guidance, I got the message: “Give him what he wants. Ask him what he needs to feel safe and say, ‘Yes’ to whatever it is.” So I asked, and it turned out he wanted half of everything in the bank plus $4,000 per month in child support and alimony. I was terrified to give him that much money. I didn’t have an extra $4,000 a month, and I knew he would blow the cash we had within months. But I did it anyway. That was the first year I made $1 million in revenue in my business, and I’ve hit at least that, and often much more, every year since. (And, yes, he did blow the cash, but the good news was that I learned I could make more.)
Give what it is you want: It's the true key to having more.
Ali Neely is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.