Good Guys Finish First (But There's a Catch)

Wendy Kelly
Sep 25, 2014
Good Guys Finish First (But There's a Catch)

It's a Dog Eat Dog World Out There...

Or so they said. Recent research has come out concluding that "good guys" actually cluster at the top and very bottom. In the middle are the "takers" and the "matchers" -- those who primarily take, and those who religiously keep score.

David Brooks has an opinion on this, and he sides squarely on the side of altruism. Humans have evolved to cooperate, and this helps us thrive in our families, our communities, and in our careers.

We can see this in the success of social networks. The people who are most giving are the ones, generally speaking, who get ahead. The catch is this: You must give strategically.

Giving, either on the Internet or "IRL" needs to be done in a way that does not deplete you of your resources and steer you away from your goals and achieving your dreams.

The people who lose sight of that fact are the ones who end up on the bottom of the heap.

And what of the "takers"?

The sharks of the world, it seems, sometimes start out ahead, but people generally catch on to their negativity and selfish ways and punish them -- hard. They end up losing to those who were generous all along.

We don't like those who keep score much, either. They stay squarely in the middle, not moving ahead, as their co-workers begin to tire of their constant score-keeping.

The lesson for employers is to weed out the takers. Even one of these greedy guys can ruin an organization; their negativity is wearing everyone else down, according to Wharton professor Andy Grant.

And the lesson for everyone is to give generously and widely to as many people you can. Don't forget your own needs in the process, but treat those around you with honesty kindness and respect.

Good luck out there, and let us know how it's working for you!

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