Come to Give, Not Take: The Power of Reciprocity

in psychology •  2 years ago

With this mindset, I went from being a newbie to swimming with whales in a few weeks:

I'm not anyone special. I haven't founded any successful bitcoin companies, I don't have thousands of Youtube followers, nor do I have a widely-read newsletter. I'm just your average Jo...rdan who stumbled upon Steemit and was intrigued by the concept.

A couple of days after signing up, I went over to Amazon looking for a book about the site. I bought Steemit 101, written by Tom Janowicz @donkeypong, and devoured it immediately.

It was full of great information, but one section in the book stood out; it read:

“I would suggest anyone who’s looking to increase his influence and reputation to join the Slack channel of Steemit (replaced by Steemit Chat after publishing). Then create connections while following the best tip I’ve ever heard on how to get what you want:

If you can help enough people get what they want, you can get anything you want.

Don’t go on the Slack Channel to get but to give. Give as much of whatever people on the Slack channel needs and you will never be chasing after votes.”

I took that advice to heart, and the hunt was on for ways to do just that. The first opportunity that arose was a post from @ned. He asked for help writing the Steemit FAQ, and I volunteered to put it together. Many hours of work later, the final draft is nearly complete.

Another time, I replied to a thread about a potential Steemit improvement. One of Steemit’s largest whales responded to that comment, saying he thought the same thing for a long time. I had previously written a blog post on the topic that got lost in the Steemit abyss. After his comment, it occurred to me that someone of his clout would likely get traction posting it and therefore encourage action by Steemit developers. I told him he could repost it for this reason, no strings attached. Maybe it was because our visions aligned, or maybe it was because of this gesture, but this is how I started swimming with whales. (A.k.a. my first whale follower.)

Throughout the next couple weeks, I continuously offered help in instances where I could hopefully add value: commenting on posts, suggesting improvements, contributing to projects, answering questions, etc.

Even though I've only had time to write half a dozen blog posts since discovering Steemit a month ago, I managed to garner nearly 150 followers (5 of whom are whales.) All because I came to give, not take.

If you're a frustrated minnow who has been struggling to gain traction through simply writing blog posts, maybe it's time to consider a new approach? Consider asking what you can do for others and expect nothing in return. I think you'll be overwhelmed with the support you ultimately​ receive. The power of reciprocity is real - On Steemit and in real life.

You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.
~Zig Zigler

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Great post my friend.
That's the right attitude and thanks for sharing it.
STEEMIT 101 sounds like a great read, and good idea picking it up and reading it. I've done a lot of learning the hard way, but I've been learning.

Keep it up! Papa approves your message!


Thank you. Steemit 101 is a quick and easy read with tons of valuable information. A few minor things need updating due to the constant changes at Steemit, but I'd recommend it for sure!


Great sentiment :-). Excellent.

Helping others is always a great thing. Great job :)


I appreciated your work in the first step of compiling the FAQ. Your Q&As in Ned's post contributed a lot to the project!


I'm glad it was helpful :)

“Give and it will be given to you in good measure, pressed down and overflowing, they shall cast into your lap. For with what measure you measure it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

Very nicely put together article; the next time someone asks me for help in Chat, I'm going to point them to this post first, you've laid out a nice blueprint here. :-)



Thanks, that means a lot to me.

Good job @shenanigator! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and positivity. I am going to take that advice as well!


Glad to hear! I think the more people who take this advice, the stronger the Steemit community will become.

This is great, and I wish I could say I followed this advice as thoroughly as you have.

In other news, with the new voting power change coming in, my voting power article is about to go out of date and I'm going to have to post a revised version soon. Between that and a major real-life deadline that's coming in the next few weeks for me, I probably won't have time to write a curation rewards post for some time. You should talk to @burnin, he's been digging through the code for these issues and seems to have a pretty good handle on this stuff.


Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for the revised version and get ahold of @burnin.

What a fine post. I just came back to it, after bookmarking it one month ago.

I spent most of my first month on Steemit creating and posting various content, without getting much reward. I truly enjoy the content creation, but after one month, I realized that I should be doing more. More curating, more upvoting, more commenting, and more learning about what it takes to build a successful Steemit community – a community that breeds further success.

So, over the past few days, I've been throttling back my content-creation activities, and focusing more on upvoting and commenting. And upon re-reading this post, I realize that I can do so much more in terms of support.

Thanks for this post – twice! By taking the advice herein, I believe my next month will be as good as my first month, and maybe even better.


More curating, more upvoting, more commenting, and more learning

Oh gosh, there always is so much more that we can do, but unfortunately there is not always enough time to do all those things. Today is my first day on Steemit, I am browsing the how-to posts, the comments, and debating if I have enough time to be a Steemit member...


There's plenty to do, but it's very interesting and rewarding. "Rewarding" in the sense of accomplishment, and also (potentially) in the sense of $ rewards.

Certain long-time Steemians are making some decent money on Steemit, but don't expect to get rich overnight, or even to get rich. Those who are making good coin have spent a lot of time and effort already. Some of them have years of online experience, and they brought their subscribers along to Steemit.

Best of luck, and Full Steem Ahead.

p.s. I suggest you "make enough time to be a Steemian."

For those of us who have to start from scratch, it can be and probably will be a bit of a slog. At first, you will find that your posts barely get noticed, and that they make you a few cents or a few dollars at most.

At the beginning, you cannot reasonably expect anything more. But if you persist, if you diligently and consistently continue to create quality content, you will grow along with Steemit, and you will eventually find that you have succeeded along with Steemit.


Thank you for your kind, encouraging reply to my short comment.

I am not an online newbie though, far from it. I have been online, full-time marketer, for the last 3 plus years. But, recently I found myself liking crypto world more and more and liking marketing word less and less ;-) This is why I started venturing into completely new for me grounds, such as BitcoinTalk and now Steemit.

I noticed Steemit on Google, read few posts which ranked surprisingly high in searches and got interested… And I am thinking… maybe here my marketing experience could prove useful and maybe I will be able to learn new things and find new, interesting networks outside my usual networking one. And, of course, earn some Steem coins in the process.

I got somehow tired with the solo ads and traffic exchanges, (I own viral mailer and DLB site) and I would like to change my online activities to more challenging and interesting ones. Wish me luck :-)


OK ... good luck!

I tried to do some online business 10–15 years ago, but soon gave up. I aint a marketer, and did not enjoy it at all. And of course, that means that I had no success at it whatsoever.

Steemit is quite different. It's more of blogging platform, and some even refer to it as a "publishing venture." That means that whatever you want to publish, you can do so on Steemit, and probably find a readership / community.

Of course, "marketing" yourself and your posts can be said to play a part in any success you will have on Steemit, but it's a very different sort of marketing / promotion. One that I'm quite comfortable with. The way I like to describe it is by saying that it's more of a COMMUNITY than a network.

Below are a few points of advice re posting on Steemit.

  1. Longer posts are more lucrative than short posts. If you make a post of 20–30 paragraphs, it's more likely to earn rewards.
  2. Include some photos, images or graphs, to complement the text.
  3. Make sure the text and photos are formatted properly, so that your post looks attractive and appealing.

Hope this helps for now. Good luck, and Full Steem Ahead!

p.s. I'm also from Canada. Where's Wawa?


Nice, it looks like I have already made here a new friend :-)

I am not planning Full Steem ahead yet, but hopefully soon.

I have another obstacle, English is not my first lang, and as such, it takes me longer to write and I always question my style and my grammar, but I like challenges and all together, I love writing. Used to write quite good in my native language...

So, you are in Thailand, and you are originally from Canada. Nice! I like Thai people, my very first online friend and partner was a young, super talented Thai boy. Today he is a CEO of his own company in Bangkok and we are still in contact.

As to Wawa, it is in Northern Ontario, 230 km north of Sault Ste Marie. It is a picturesque, tinny town at the shores of Wawa Lake and Lake Superior. If it were not for our winters, it would be one of the nicest places in Canada ;-)

We are goose famous ;-)


Your English and your writing are fine. (As a teacher, writer, editor, I know quality writing when I read it, so trust me.)

Even though the English language is my specialty, I also take a long time to write an essay or an email or a Steemit post. I question my own style, because I want the reader to read it WITHOUT questioning or judging my style. Good writing is a craft, so if your writing takes a bit of time and effort, just realize that that means you are creating GOOD writing.

Looking at Google Maps, I realize that I drove thru Wawa in 1979, on my way back from a summer in Alberta. I made it another 300–400 miles down the Trans-Canada Hway, to Elliot Lake, where I got in a car accident and ended up unconscious in the hospital for a few days. I survived....

Thanks for the Canada Goose. Cheers


I am sorry it took me so long to reply to you, I had a home situation... Yes, Elliot Lake is not too far from Wawa and I will do my best to find you on Steemit chat :-)


Sorry, one more Wawa's giant goose picture, this one is special:


And... one more question. Is it OK to chat like that with each other, out of article context, in comments? I would hate to do something against Steemit etiquette.
I've read this post, but there are not much about commenting convos:

Гарно сказано "прийшов щоб давати а не брати", такий шлях веде до успіху!

Thanks for the advices I am a newbie

world would be a so much better place if all would think alike

@ shenanigator, Thanks for the book recommendation! Here's a link to a pdf version provided by @donkeypong:

Here's hope for everyone to gain traction!

Great insight @shenanigator. Your honest post on helping others is what our world needs. Am a minnow with a dream to swim with the whales someday. Your post has assured me that its possible. Just so that steemians know that am available @earnafrica to help with anything possible, even while I immerse myself in learning and would not mind mentors like you guiding me on the path of growth.

Thank you for this insight ! Have a great day.

Oh this such a wonderful post and its exactly how we feel about everything we do as well as we are called the 'Helping Income Team' ;-)

We as a couple share talents in various spheres and are always willing to share it and provide it where it can come to use and be put to give out maximum results in return to the person who benefits.

In giving there is so much joy and it should be with with zero expectations which is very difficult in the current world but its not so difficult as half the time people are running after things and they never get them. So as opposite psychology suggests that you don't run after things and that includes money. What happens then is that it will turn around and come after you! LOL!!!

Yes, its easy said then done but it really works! So your post is such a joy to read and hard work pays and is appreciated as its all about providing value and you have done so which is why you have built a strong reputation.

Cheers & God Bless!
Nat & Nelly ;-)

Yes, true!!

Am reading your post only now.... and fully agree with it. I have only been around for a month and I see a few Steemians whose posts I really like but do not get the attention they deserve in my eyes. I have therefore started to nominate certain posts to try and get them noticed by others and hopefully make those people grow. I believe in karma. If you do good, life will be good to you.
Thanks for this post

How to find out more about what you experience was and is on Steemit

Thanks for this
It really encouraging
Because in this life, the more you give is the more you earn

Very true, permit me to add this from the last sermon ♧
"A decision made despising or without the next person in view is no decision "......

Nice post! Thanks for that.

It reminds me of a quote one of my mentors in cryptocurrency investing recently said at an event I attended a couple of weeks ago, in Valley Forge, PA.

He said, "The world is for givers, not takers." (Horst Jicha)

It is encouraging to be around more people who feel this way.

Thank you for the recommendation!sounds like a good read!

I am always happy to help but don't have many talents. I am still working out what cryptocurrency and bitcoins are

This is such an awesome attitude and very inspiring! Makes me think of one of my favorite quotes:

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else. - Charles Dickens

If you ever need help (or content!), @shenanigator please let me know!

That's right. What really matters in life is what you give is more important than what you take. Nice article :)

Like the 90s Free Radicals song says "you only what what you give" :-)

I love your post! I like how you have approached #steemit, and I am glad you are swimming with the whales. I think that also goes well with "you get what you give". You have given a lot and contributed, so you are getting compensated for that. I hope to do that in my own way by helping people save money and be aware of prices of items. I love being able to help people get deals and save money. I posted some deals in the past, but steemit has slowly gotten I hope with time it can help more people. Thank you for sharing your post!

This was the first post that I've read on steemit. Thank you for the insight! :)

Great post :)

Sorry, a wonderful post full of what can be done. Nothing however that helps me navigate or know 'how to'
Right now, I've lost the route back to drafts. I simply do not know how, and when I get a menu, it's full of good stuff, like FAQ, but FAQ says such is so, but doesn't help with how.

“Come to give, not take” is easier said than done since we, human beings have accustomed to be self-centered to survive and protect ourselves. Additionally, there is another saying that “Help yourself first before helping others”. However, I think SteemIt or the steem BlockChain technology behind it will change us to think as a community and benefiting others will benefiting us in some other way.

This post has been really helpful. Thank you so much

Really good post. What you say about reciprocity it's true, we've come here to serve.
I'm new here, and this post give a way to make my firts steps.
Thaks a lot!

I'm beginer. So I don't know what I doing here yet!
let's study hard from now!

really nice article !

I honestly think that we are selfish by nature and that's why giving requires much effort for us and that's why you get rewarded for what you put in not take out

Thank you very much for this priceless tip. I must say, one of the best so far for every newbie, that includes me.

I read it again today, for the 3rd time. Such a valuable piece. And will keep reading till I get it in my DNA!

great post, thank you it help me understand a little more about steemit.

Thanks for that information. I am trying to start a blog to help inform people about anesthesia . I know it's a small niche but my experience is that there is little information for the general public about anesthesia therefore a lot of anxiety and fear surround that topic. I would like to answer peoples questions and inform people so that it helps alleviate the fear surrounding my profession.

This advice touch me, Thank you

This is a good and a very educative post, I found it very useful as a newbie willing to add to steemit community I my little way and help it grow. Now with the help of your article I know just what to do to be able to achieve my aim, objectives and goals in adding values to this community. I will always check your blog for more updates like this.

I agree with you 100% and i intend following in you way. Its just a re-representation of the common quote "Givers Never Lack - by Anonymous"... Good job Bro.

Thank you for your post. It is so easy to lose heart as a minnow especially when you put heart and soul into your posts and after 7 days you make 1 or 5 cents. I have first hand experience and still battle on. I will give the SteemIt 101 a good read and then press on. Thank you.

So true. Thanks for a post that just gets to the point. I am less than a minnow, painfully disilussioned but not ready to give up or resort to junk posts. By reading posts, I have decided to change my approach - although my intention from the beginning was to help and to give, I am wondering if that is enough. I spent weeks researching the few posts I have done and then posted them only to earn 1c on one and 7c on another. Coming from the desperate position I am in financially, I became painfully disheartened and wondered what I was doing wrong. I think my experience is more common than people realize. I have decided that instead of spending hours on posts that I can only pennies on, for now, I will read other people's blogs, find the good stuff and upvote them - not that I am worth anything, it might just boost someone's self-esteem or hope. I will then connect with those I enjoy. When I have a decent following, I will then spend time contributing my posts and hopefully catch the eyes on the influential steemians as you have. I do not expect an overnight success as it is for some. Maybe more people need to take small steps first, get a real good feel for SteemIt which working offline on real great content and then hit the platform with their brilliant, well thought out, to the point posts later. I still hold out hope for SteemIt and my posts, but sometimes we just need to look elsewhere for a living, while we build up something good in the background. Good luck to all those who are battling like me. Take the time to post brilliant work instead of bulk. Good luck to all and thank you Shenanigator for your post.


Keep on posting. A curation guild like @curie is going to pick up your post one of these days and you'll start seeing rewards coming it. Don't underestimate the power of good pictures. It would help your posts stand out more if you got higher-quality photos. I like There are a ton of great photos to choose from with no attribution needed.

Excellent post. We all tend to forget that if you want something you should give first. We need to realise that by giving we are getting so much more. It is not hard to be aware that we should help someone in need if we are able to,because helping others,we are helping ourselves. Thumbs up,buddy.

I completely agree with the approach and especially the last part of the post where you have mentioned a quote from Zig Ziglar. Achieving greatness in anything just takes the right amount of dedication towards people who are actually willing for the change that one has to offer.

Great post.

Nice post bro, great information and tips!

Amazing post, I'm new to steemit.
I'm definitely going to start giving more so I can take more as well.
Thanks for sharing. 👍

Amazingly, this post is a wake up call and very informative for newbies like me.
I'm greatly challenged to give out my best for the community and not just be on the receiving end.
Kudos bro

Thanks for your advice. I will really like to know more about the organization.

I have been in steemit for over 3 months but never learnt anything,you know why?,i was loooking for the earnings........i learnt through the hard way but i learnt either ways ,very useful pieces put together by people like you and many others got me emotional,it is amazing to be in a community where we all want our neighbours or friends to grow,this attitude is the growth attitude any community with this kind if attitude grows tremendously,you don't need to look too far anymore because this community 'steemit' is a growing one and IT JUST STARTED,thank you guys for this inputs,i feel like family already,thanks.

Thanks for taking the time to help others and then help others help others