Why I Said No To $5000 If I Would Just Have A Cup Of Coffee
BY JAMES ALTUCHER
Someone wanted to give me $5000 if I would just have a cup of coffee with him for 20 minutes. (If it was you and you're reading this, don't worry, I'm not going to say your name).
And I have no problem with the guy who made the offer. A good person.
He said, "even if nothing comes of the coffee, I will just hand you $5000."
But I had to say NO.
Nobody gives money for nothing. In 20 years of doing business I have NEVER once gotten money for doing nothing.
And I can say this: I've been pitched many times on the, "I will give you $X" when it seems like I would have to do no work. But nobody gives money for free. The world doesn't work like that.
So what happened in this case?
Specifically, he wanted to spend 20 minutes convincing me he would be a good guy to speak at an upcoming conference run by a friend of mine, Jayson Gaignard . Then I, in turn, would put in a good word with Jayson, even though that had no guarantee.
So he had TWO "no guarantees" in front of him. First, I might not like his pitch. Second, even if I liked it, Jayson might still say no. I have no way of really influencing someone to do something they don't want to do.
And then I would be up $5000 and my friend who made the offer would have nothing. He'd be out $5000.
And I would feel bad because I would have delivered zero value. Even negative value for the money.
If you make it an instinctive habit to deliver more value than was expected every time you are given money, then you will have more money than you need.
This is not just in business. In EVERY interaction you have today. Even in the thoughts you think about other people. This takes practice.
At least, I have to practice it.
If you say "yes" in the cases where you can make money but there are hidden costs and great uncertainty of the value you will deliver then you will be miserable and will end up with less than you started with.
I know this because I have lost friends, family, money, time life by saying "yes" to the wrong $5000 over and over.
That's it. It's that simple.
Every day find some place to deliver more value than is expected of you. Give the value for free at first if you have to.
Everything in the universe is like a pendulum that follows the laws of physics. If you hold the pendulum way up high and let it go then it will swing equally high in the opposite direction. This always holds.
So if you deliver value (holding the pendulum high and releasing it in one direction) then value will be delivered back to you (the pendulum will swing back to you).
This sounds new age-ish but I just mean this as an analogy. Because the analogy always works. It works at every level. Business, talking, thinking, doing. Even on tiny tiny interactions. Every interaction begins a pendulum.
Here's more science. The heart emits an electromagnetic field around it that extends up to five feet beyond your body.
You control what goes into that electromagnetic field based on your thoughts. This is not me saying it but countless scientific studies. I don't like BS new age science that means nothing.
But this is an example of the pendulums at work. Thinking positive, being warm towards the people around you, delivering value wherever you can, is felt by others and then their electromagnetic fields respond without them even realizing it.
Pendulums, electromagnetic fields, and delivering value.
So that's why I said no to $5000 for a simple cup of coffee.
Because I want everything I do to be of benefit or I will die an early death.
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