Now, wouldn’t you think that the co-authors of a book entitled “The Go-Giver” would answer that question with a resounding YES? But we don’t — and we also don’t think it’s better to receive than it is to give.
What? That’s right: the question itself is based on what John calls the “treacherous dichotomy,” and I call the “false dilemma” — also known as the improper or unnecessary use of the word, “or.”
In other words: “Would you rather be rich OR happy?” Well, why does it have to be one or the other? Sure, there are many poor people who are happy, and there are also many rich people who are unhappy. But wouldn’t it be even better to be both? Being wealthy would certainly seem to be more desirable than being poor. Rich people live longer, are healthier, are able to give more to charity and generally have more choices available to them. Given the opportunity to choose (which, by the way, you do have), you might as well be both.
Back to giving and receiving: why must one or the other be “better”? Yet it’s so hard to resist polarizing, isn’t it? It’s so deeply ingrained in us, this idea that “benefitting others” and “benefitting myself” are mutually exclusive, that you’re either helping others or helping yourself, and you can’t possibly do both at once. Our point — and it’s a point we let Nicole make in Chapter 5, is that these two things do NOT need to be in conflict. Is the true value of giving purely in the act of giving? Yes. And do we also benefit personally? Yes. They’re both true. And while that’s hard for people to grasp — like grasping that subatomic particles can be both waves and particles — that is the true nature of reality, as far as we can see.
So: is it better to give, or is it better to receive? Answer: YES!