Posted by: universitymindlab | August 19, 2008

The Importance of a Positive Contribution

The Importance of a Positive Contribution

By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

Each of us has a meter inside, where we consciously or unconsciously measure the balance of give and take that exists in our relationships. Whether dealing with business or social relationships or with family members or friends, we all gauge the level of positive reciprocity that exists.

To judge the balance of give and take in a relationship is not selfishness. It can be, but in healthy relationships it is natural to want to do our fair share; especially if we truly appreciate and value the other person or institution.

We make sure that we are a team player at our businesses or jobs and show up on time and add value to collaborative projects. We also make sure that colleagues or higher-ups are not left ‘holding the bag’ or have to clean up our mistakes. In social relationships we make sure we are friendly, ensure that we show up for parties or special events and alternate who picks up the tab for lunch or dinner. We also check up on friends and acquaintances when we haven’t seen them for a while.

With family, the same principles apply. Calls, visits, invitations to dinners and watching kids in an emergency all fall within the realm of maintaining balance.

If you are conscientious of your need to maintain the give and take balance in relationships, congratulations! However, from time to time, we need to review all of our relationships to see if we are providing positive contributions or if we are taking more than we are giving.

If we are accepting more than we give then we must re-balance that relationship. Sometimes we aren’t mindful of a co-worker that we always allow to handle certain difficult tasks because they “do it so well.” Or a mentor who always provides references, advice and introductions, but only receives a big, “Thank you so much!,” in return.  Or a family member that is depended on too much and sometimes not even thanked because of the idea that is what brothers, mothers or aunts do.

Seeking a give and take balance is the best way to keep relationships thriving, healthy and to ensure growth for everyone involved. Have you contributed to your relationships lately?



  1. […] According to Bakari Akil II Ph.D., we each have a meter inside with which we measure the balance, the give and take in our relationship, and it can happen either consciously or unconsciously. He also says that the act of judging the balance of give and take is not necessarily selfish -– we want to do our fair share if we are in a healthy union and care about our partner. If we feel we are accepting more than we are giving, we may feel like turning up the generosity. He points out that if you think you are not aware of the balance in your relationship, then it’s definitely time to take a look at it! Constantly trying to strike a balance between give and take is one of the best ways to healthily feed your intimate relationship. Make sure you contribute to it regularly! Dr. Akil’s entire blog post, “The Importance of a Positive Contribution,” can be found at […]

  2. […] – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by oschina on 2008-10-18 The Importance of a Positive Contribution – […]

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