Better to receive?

Better to receive?

Posted by Regi Campbell on December 26, 2011

(This post is from Jesse Lyn Stoner, a speaker, business consultant and co-author of Full Steam Ahead: Unleash the Power of Vision (Berrett-Koehler, 2011). She can be found on Twitter at @jesselynstoner and she blogs at www.jessestoner.com.)


How many times have you heard, “It’s better to give than receive?” It’s so ingrained in our culture, we don’t even question it.

If you are in a leadership role, chances are you believe this wholeheartedly. Which means you also probably believe you should always be competent, never make mistakes and always be strong. Or that you should only receive when you have something to give in return.

The problem with this attitude is that when you are in a situation where you don’t have a choice and must receive, you are likely to feel




It’s disconcerting because it challenges your self-image.

It’s easier to give than to receive, but not necessarily better.

9 reasons receiving is good

  1. It reminds you that you’re not in charge
  2. It keeps you humble
  3. You allow others the opportunity to feel the pleasure of giving
  4. You get to experience gratitude
  5. You develop a realistic self-image
  6. You create a space for others to shine
  7. You begin to understand of what strength really is
  8. You become a more well-rounded person
  9. Your relationships become richer

It’s true that it is good to give. Here’s are 26 articles that explain why. http://www.helium.com/knowledge/3044-why-its-better-to-give-than-receive

But it’s not always good to give. Giving when people can help themselves takes away their power and opportunity to grow, and keeps them dependent.

What’s important is knowing when to give and when to receive.

There’s a time to give and a time to receive. When it’s your time to receive, just say “thank you.” And allow yourself to feel the pleasure of gratitude that naturally arises when you understand that at times, it’s better to receive than to give.

Responses (1)

Joseph Lalonde
Joseph Lalonde Posted: December 27, 2011, 3:20 pm

Great article Jesse!

I agree there are times that we give when we shouldn’t. Like you stated, when people are able to help themselves but we step in. That can take away their self worth and humiliate them. One of the speakers at Catalyst East told a story on how humiliating it can be. I can’t remember his name, but it was a great illustration.

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