There’s an important distinction worth making when you’re trying to be Valuable in the world.

There’s YOU. And then there’s THEM.

Here’s what I mean: There are a lot of things you can do for other people, but doing these things may not necessarily help YOU.

For example, you can charitably give your time to a cause which may be a great thing and good for THEM, but if you’re already overworked and overwhelmed, what may be good for others may NOT be good for YOU.

So, if you think about it, there are four categories of Activities, Goals, and Results when it comes to “YOU” and “THEM”:

  1. BAD for YOU, BAD for THEM:

An example of this may be when you feel wronged by someone else, and you try and drag them down with you. Instead of taking a bad situation and transforming it, you may try and make the other person, who you believe was the cause of the pain, feel pain too.

In some ways, this is like the quote from “A Sponsorship Guide for 12-Step Programs” by M.T. that says, “Resentment is when you take the poison and wait for the other person to die.”

All in all, bad for you, bad for them.

  1. BAD for YOU, GOOD for THEM:

This is like the charitable example I mentioned above. If you’re so overcommitted and overexerted, but you are still trying to help people, you may damage your health and make things worse for yourself while you help other people.

You may think of this like being a martyr, and while it may be good for other people, it’s still “bad for you”.

  1. GOOD for YOU, BAD for THEM:

Think of a swindler or someone unethical. They may get some “good” for themselves at the expense of other people.

This is the sort of scenario that can sometimes pull at our ethical compass and cause us to question where our ethical line lays. Where is the line when a bad deal for someone else is still an okay deal for everyone involved?

My feeling and thinking is this: Stay Ethical. Don’t even start creating any line where you walk into unethical territory. Otherwise, eventually you end up with a “Good for you, Bad for them” deal and you leave people worse off than how you found them.

Don’t go there.

On top of that, doing a “good for you, bad for them” deal eventually will erode your sense of Ethics, and that could turn what was “good for you” into something that is now BAD for you.

4. GOOD for YOU, GOOD for THEM:

This is, ideally, the best Activity, Goal, and Result to focus on; One where it is good for you AND good for them.

What determines whether something is “good” for you and them is individual and contextual to the situation. Someone’s idea of an outcome that is “good” may seem far fetched to you, whereas your idea of a “good” outcome may seem like a bargain to someone else.

Whatever the case may be, strive for actions that result in outcomes that are GOOD for YOU and GOOD for THEM.

It’s crucial to differentiate between those Activities, Goals, and Results that will ultimately be good for you AND them. It’s even more crucial to differentiate between YOU and THEM. Don’t just give all of yourself to people, getting nothing in return. And don’t just be a “taker” and drain people.

You want to make sure whatever you Focus on for THEM also gets you what YOU want so you can keep yourself strong.

by Joe Polish
Founder of Genius Network

Joe Polish

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