Fortune Friday: “You are never selfish with your advice or your help.”

How did they know?

Seriously though, this fortune immediately brings two thoughts to mind. First, stinginess never pays. And second, Karma is always watching. Knowing this is key to a happy life.

Not only does stinginess never pay, but helping is more fun. I admit, in my younger days I typically operated from a scarcity mindset. Meaning, the pie was a fixed size and every slice you got was one I did not. As I matured and aged I realized that the pie is an ever-expanding black hole and that there are more than enough slices for everyone to have their fill.

Here is an example from my career as a graphic designer. When I was young I mistakenly believed my pool of creativity was finite and that once emptied was gone forever. And more than a few times if I had a really great idea I would hoard it to myself—for future use—and hold it back from the client, judging them too unworthy or ignorant or pedestrian to appreciate it.

Yes, I know. I was a jerk. And an art snob.

Flash forward a decade. These days I lay it all out on the table. I happily throw all my best ideas out there to my design clients. Because I have learned that the creative pool is never-ending. As often as I dip my cup into it, the water level never goes down. It is as though a hidden spring at the bottom is continuously bubbling up to the surface.

I’ve also learned that it is fun to compliment people publicly. It is fun to champion their ideas. I enjoy speaking up in meetings and heaping praise upon those who’ve earned it. I like sharing this way. I feel good doing it. It takes almost no effort, but pays huge dividends in building relationships.

The legendary Bruce Lee, one of the idols of my teen years, once said, “Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.”

I love that. The more I give away, the more that comes back to me.

And those good ideas I kept to myself and planned to use later? Yeah, they’re still collecting dust on my hard drive.

To your good fortune!

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