Beggars or Bargainers: No One Owes You Anything

Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens. Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely

Adam Smith

Benevolence and generosity are noble, but little is said about the destructive effects of both virtues on society, particularly when extended to the irresponsible and the undeserving. 

Benevolence can be destructive when it is allowed to nurture a sense of entitlement and dependency in the recipients of the same. It is amazing to see how many people go through life, angry and bitter because someone or some institution did not give them what they assumed they were entitled to. This is as true for some individuals, as it is for some nations. 

There are many, whose singular strategy for existence is begging. They are the ones who believe in the ‘ask and you will receive’ doctrines of existence. Often, when what they ask for is not granted, they go through life, bitter, angry and frustrated.

Is asking for things the only way to get things in life? Do these beggars even wonder if they are entitled and qualified to receive what they are expecting from their presumed benefactors? The adage “to whom much is given, much is to be expected” suggests that expectations must be based upon investments. Something you have given should be the basis of your expectations. Frustration is often the outcome of holding on to expectations that lack practical justification. 

Something you have given should be the basis of your expectations. Share on X

If begging is not a sustainable way to live, then, what other alternatives are there to adopt? The answer is BARGAINING. The most effective way to live is to switch from begging to bargaining. In reality, bargainers do better in life than beggars. 

The concept of bargaining is based upon the principle of exchange. Begging is a one-way transaction but bargaining is a two-way transaction based upon the mutual exchange of value. The beauty of bargaining based upon the exchange of value is that one is not entirely at the mercy of another in the transaction. And if the terms of the negotiation and transaction are unfavourable, one can simply quit the negotiating table. 

The most effective way to live is to switch from begging to bargaining. Share on X

This balance of power is greatly needed in every facet of our society today. Not even marriages, relationships or nation-building are spared from this principle. If one doesn’t switch from begging to bargaining, one will forever be a victim of the imbalance of power that is characteristic of our world today. 

To exchange value, however, one must first accumulate it, in sufficient quantities and qualities, enough to merit a transaction at the negotiation tables of life. The way out of begging, therefore, is value creation and the core drivers of value are the problems, we effectively solve for the people and the world around us. 

The way out of begging is value creation Share on X

The question to always ask is, ‘what do I have to offer in exchange for what I want to be offered?’ If the answer to that question is nothing, then one is simply begging. It is time to switch from begging to bargaining.

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