Why the smartest thing you can do is to help others

Why the smartest thing you can do is to help others

My friend Roger told me something in 2018. He said that it's actually more risky to be an employee than a business owner. I never really understood what he meant and just assumed it was a "Roger thing to say" but this past summer I asked him to clarify what he meant because he left me hanging for two years.

What he explained is that going into business — and it's certainly not for everyone — allows you to diversify your risk. Rather than being an employee who has 1 customer — i.e. the business that you work for — when you run a business and you have customers, you've diversified your risk by XXX number of customers. Certainly, you can put a lot of your risk into one customer account — i.e. hunting whales — but if you do it right, you should have a good number of customers who, due to (is it law of large numbers? I'm not sure the statistical reason), will prevent you from sinking if something were happen to any one of them.

I'm a HUGE fan of Give and Take by Adam Grant. And this summer I read "It's Not About You" which had similar vibes.

I sort of melded the two concepts (Roger's and Giving) together. I think that helping others is the smartest thing you can do because if you help others, they are more likely to help you, whenever you need it. You've diversified your giving and you're more likely to get giving back when you need it.

In comparison, if you only focus on yourself and getting yourself to wherever it is you want to go, if you fail or fall into trouble, the only person you have to help you is yourself.

Written: October 22, 2020


  • This article doesn't feel fully fleshed out. I'll need to come back.
  • Give and Take by Adam Grant