“It’s Better to Give than Receive” and Other Lies

I’ve asked some friends to bring their insights to the Leadership Freak community. Please give a warm welcome to today’s guest writer, Jesse Lyn Stoner.


How many times have you heard, “It’s better to give than receive?” It’s so ingrained in our culture, we don’t even question it.

If you are in a leadership role, chances are you believe this wholeheartedly. Which means you also probably believe you should always be competent, never make mistakes and always be strong. Or that you should only receive when you have something to give in return.

The problem with this attitude is that when you are in a situation where you don’t have a choice and must receive, you are likely to feel




It’s disconcerting because it challenges your self-image.

It’s easier to give than to receive, but not necessarily better.

9 reasons receiving is good

  1. It reminds you that you’re not in charge
  2. It keeps you humble
  3. You allow others the opportunity to feel the pleasure of giving
  4. You get to experience gratitude
  5. You develop a realistic self-image
  6. You create a space for others to shine
  7. You begin to understand of what strength really is
  8. You become a more well-rounded person
  9. Your relationships become richer

It’s true that it is good to give. Here’s are 26 articles that explain why. http://www.helium.com/knowledge/3044-why-its-better-to-give-than-receive

But it’s not always good to give. Giving when people can help themselves takes away their power and opportunity to grow, and keeps them dependent.

What’s important is knowing when to give and when to receive.

There’s a time to give and a time to receive. When it’s your time to receive, just say “thank you.” And allow yourself to feel the pleasure of gratitude that naturally arises when you understand that at times, it’s better to receive than to give.


Jesse Lyn Stoner is a speaker, business consultant and co-author of Full Steam Ahead: Unleash the Power of Vision (Berrett-Koehler, 2011). She can be found on Twitter at @jesselynstoner and she blogs at www.jessestoner.com