The Value of a Gift, Unrelated to Price and Entirely Recognized by Everyone
Practicing gratitude is an important component of your overall path to success. Showing another your appreciation trains the brain to think outside of itself and recognize your opportunities and people in your corner.
One of the best ways to practice gratitude is through the simple act of gift giving, as outlined in The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha:
“Finally, once you understand his needs, challenges, and desires, think about how you can offer him a small gift. We don’t mean an Amazon.com gift card or a box of cigars. We mean something—even something intangible—that costs you almost nothing yet still is valuable to the other person. Classic small gifts include relevant information and articles, introductions, and advice. A really expensive big gift is actually counterproductive—it can feel like a bribe. Inexpensive yet thoughtful is best.”
Inexpensive yet thoughtful is the name of the game—so let's break that down a bit, shall we?
What Does That Mean?
No, we're not telling you to run out and buy a bunch of stuff at the dollar store. The idea behind an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift is to show a person that you're thinking of them. Let's say your Advisor is interested in a specific company or industry and you find an interesting article about it. Sending them the link to it is free and you can make it thoughtful by providing high-level bullet points as to the key takeaways or big ideas in the article, in case they're busy and don't have a lot of time to read it.
Here's another example. Let's say your boss has a busy day in front of them and they, like you, may have a slight addiction to Diet Coke (full disclosure, this is a real-life example that one of our team members provided for this article.) You know that they’re not going to get an opportunity to go to the vending machine to get a can of that sweet chemical sugar water that day, so when you make your daily trek to get your own can, you get an extra for him, too. It's an inexpensive, yet extremely thoughtful gift to give because it acknowledges the limitations of their schedule and highlights an interest that you share.
Both examples are easy ways for you to tell another person in your life that you see them and are grateful for the role they play in your life.
It's not just about gifting up to the people you see as aspirational in your life; it's important to give gifts to everyone in your life—maybe there's a junior in your department that is struggling with a concept related to their role. Taking them aside and letting them know you struggled with the same thing when you were starting out and telling them you're available for any questions they have will make a lasting impact on them because it lets them know someone is in their corner and rooting for their success. That boost of confidence and knowing that they’re not struggling alone may stay with them forever—and they’ll make a point to pay it forward when they’re in a position to do so.
This creates a feedback loop of gratitude to everyone in your life so the people you’re surrounded by daily are looking out for each other. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
So, we’re going to challenge you to this—give small, thoughtful gifts to the people in your life as often as you can. It will help them see that you care about them while acknowledging the impact they have in your life, and in return, it will make everyone’s day a light brighter, yours included.
We want to hear from you: what’s the best inexpensive yet thoughtful gift you’ve received?