You can get anything you want out of life if you see that enough other people get what they want.
–Zig Ziglar

In the 30 years I’ve been studying self-improvement I’ve seen this principle proven time and time again. I’ve been most successful myself when I find out what other people want and then get it for them. When I need to find new customers, improve sales, sell an idea, or even help a family member, I have found that it’s much easier to focus on serving the needs of that prospect, client, friend, or relative. I learn their core desires, then I try to make sure that those desires are filled. One way or another, my needs are always taken care of.

The Law of Reciprocity states that once you give something to someone, they are far more likely to respond favorably to you. Usually, you’ll get what you need from the same relationship you build by giving. Other times, you give and don’t see a quick return, but sooner or later, often in ways you’d never expect, it all balances out.

I’ve made giving my mantra, my core philosophy. On occasion I still have a bad day, worrying about my problems, screaming to get my own needs filled. Focusing on yourself is hard work. It is much easier to focus on others. You’ll get better results and have a lot more fun.

Giving has always worked for me. The moment I switch my focus from myself, options open up, and it’s easier to solve any problem or obtain any goal. It’s as simple as this: stop focusing on yourself. We were taught to set goals, focus on achievement, develop good habits, and strive to improve ourselves to get the best results. It’s true, when you’re motivated, anything is possible. Striving, pushing, struggling, and working hard will get results. You will achieve your goals and likely some negative side effects. Hard work will get you somewhere . . . but where? Sometimes, you’ll wind up learning that you were working on the wrong goal.

If you use this universal principle and switch your focus to getting other people what they want, you’ll find that you always end up with what you want . . . with a lot less struggle. Things just work out.

Billionaires know this. More than one has taught this simple formula for success:

1.Find out what people what.
2.Get it for them.

The natural outcome of focusing on yourself will usually leave you selfish—putting yourself before others. We don’t mean to be self-centered, but when we think about our own desires, that’s what happens.

With the best of intentions a person of integrity tries to be fair, to establish a quid pro quo, where he balances what he can get with what he gives. “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” That’s a fair, honest way to do business . . . but there is something better.

It’s Better to Give Than to Receive

From the Golden Rule through all great spiritual teachings we are encouraged to give, to be charitable. No mention is given of quid pro quo. We are instructed to give service without seeking a reward, not to “give unto others if they give unto you.” Give up the struggle for quid pro quo, and you’ll unleash the power of the Law of Reciprocity. It’s more than a moral or religious teaching. It’s just good marketing sense.

In Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Robert Caldini describes an experiment where a person is put in a room for a research experiment, not knowing that the other person (Joe) performing the same task is in fact the researcher’s assistant. Joe leaves the room during a rest period and returns with two sodas, giving one to the research subject. Later, the subject is asked for a small favor: Joe needs to sell some raffle tickets. The study concluded that Joe would sell twice as many tickets to subjects that had received the coke—a 200 percent improvement when a small gift was given.

We know that samples, gifts, and promotional items increase sales, but there’s a bigger point here. Would Joe have doubled his sales if he had brought in the soda and said, “I’ll give you this if you buy tickets”? Probably not.

I’ve used the power of giving at my Web site. We give away dozens of gifts during our promotions, all provided by people who have learned the power of the Law of Reciprocity. If you have a sample of true value, you can give it away to let people learn about what you do. Thanks to the Internet, there is no cost to being generous.

Giving something with the expectation of an immediate return works, but giving a real gift, forgetting your needs and focusing on what other people want, will give you a much better return. The universe will not stay out of balance. You will get everything you desire and more. All you have to do is give, and the Law of Reciprocity will always pay.

True joy comes from love and service to others, so follow the billionaire’s advice, find out what people want, and see that they get it. You’ll feel great, and you’ll always get back more than you give.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Warren Whitlock ( helps business owners exponentially grow their profits and income with proven direct marketing campaigns. Whitlock is a #1 best-selling author, publisher, and entrepreneur. His focus on “getting people what they want” extends to clients in retail, publishing, media, Internet, and real estate and to professionals of all kinds. Readers of this book are entitled to a free gift at