Why do some people just seem indispensable? Is it genetics? Skills? Hard work?
Although I think all of these things matter, I believe that the core of being indispensable can be brought down to one thing:
'The ability to give unconditionally.’
Three ways of giving
In his book, Linchpin Seth Godin describes people who become indispensable as the ones who give without expecting anything in return.
According to him, there are three kinds of people:
- Give me a gift!
- Here’s a gift; now you owe me!
- Here’s a gift. I love you.
The third option is the ‘mindset' that will make you indispensable. However, it’s the most difficult one to cultivate, because it contradicts our beliefs. That’s the reason most of us live following the 1st & 2nd option. To be fair, we're not really to blame for. The way we’ve been conditioned (by society, parents peers, etc) is the reason that we adopt this mindset. We grew and still grow up in a world where we are taught that if we do something we will get something in return.
Here’s a gift, now you owe me!
- Do this job without complaining and we'll give you security and money;
- Vice-versa: give me money and security and I’ll do the job;
- Do your homework, get good grades and you’ll go to a good university and eventually land a good job.
- In a relationship: you need to make me happy and I’ll make you happy.
It’s always a tradeoff.
Sometimes we just expect things without giving something in return. We believe that we are entitled to things because of the country we grew up or the school we went to:
Give me a gift!
- My tuition fee should be free because it used to be like that;
- I went to an ivy league university so my first job should at least make me 100k a year;
- I’m entitled to free healthcare because I live in a western country;
- When I lose my job, I expect money from the government.
While I’m not debating the truth of these given examples. I’m just saying that this mindset won’t make you indispensable.
Here’s a gift. I love you.
The people that live the 3rd option - giving without expecting anything in return - are the ones that become indispensable.
Why is that?
Because if you give without expecting anything in return people, companies & clients will want to keep you around. Some people call it karma, I call it social intelligence. It’s just how the world works. We respond well to people who give without needing anything in return.
The secret to living is giving.
Become an unconditional giver
Although it's difficult, we can practice giving unconditionally. Howver, to do so, we’ll need to change our mindset. Start by taking responsibility for everything in your life and expecting and needing nothing from anyone. Not from your boss, government, colleagues or even from your partner and loved ones.
From there search for ways you can add value to every situation (without expecting anything in return).
- Doing extra tasks at work (without expecting a salary raise);
- Offering your customers valuable content, without expecting them to directly buy something;
- Taking your partner out for dinner, without expecting a wild night afterward.
This isn’t going to be easy, because we're often are too concerned about the short term 'what’s in it for me?’. We want our customer to buy today and want a salary raise yesterday. Be patient and just start giving unconditionally. I truly believe that by cultivating this you’ll become indispensable in all areas of your life.
The surprising thing is that you’ll be the one getting more in the long term! So start giving TODAY!