Giving More Can Be Gratifying

Bill Abbate

What do you do if things are not going well for you at work, at home, or anywhere else in life? How can you correct the situation, and where can you start?

Let's look at some sage advice from a highly successful entrepreneur, economist, and business theorist from the first half of the 20th century.

"If things are not going well with you, begin your effort at correcting the situation by carefully examining the service you are rendering, and especially the spirit in which you are rendering it." Roger Babson (1875-1967)

As Babson suggests, when something is not going well for you, why not carefully examine what you provide in the situation or relationship? Even further and perhaps more importantly, review your attitude about it. You can then begin working to correct the situation.

Let's use Babson's suggestion to look at two areas of life, your career, and a personal relationship.


How often do you look at what you provide (the service you are rendering) to your employer and take an honest look at yourself? If things are not going well, ask, "Am I providing a good return for what they pay me? This question can lead you to understand the value you bring to the company. Are you doing your best to give them their money's worth, are you struggling, or are you only trying to get by?

If you are doing a great job in return for what they pay you, stick with it. Over time things will likely improve. If you are sure you are providing the service they need and have given it enough time, you can always seek employment elsewhere. The important thing is to do a careful examination of what you give for what you get.

In this examination, determine what kind of attitude you bring to the work or service you provide. Is it a good, optimistic, upbeat, positive attitude, or are you apathetic? If you display a poor attitude, even occasionally, you do not expect to receive accolades, do you?

Whether you have a good or poor attitude, check out this short article to better understand its impact on your work and life and what you can do about it.

How Attitude Can Help or Hurt You in Life

A final thought about dealing with career issues is why not be direct? If things are not going well on your job, ask your boss what you can do to improve them. Ask what you can do to overcome any potential issues you are introducing into the equation. Unless you can read minds, what can it hurt to be direct? By following this advice, you are now in a position to correct or change the situation.


Let's now use Babson's advice to explore an area in which many of us have issues at times, our relationships. If things are not going well in a relationship, what can you do? You can start by asking yourself, "How committed am I to making this relationship work?" The answer to this question can provide a great deal of insight.

It is especially important to examine what you are putting into the relationship and what you are getting from it. Are you paying attention to the person? Do you appreciate them? How are they responding to you? Are you in tune with their heart and desires? What are you giving them in return for the relationship?

If you can say in your heart that you are doing your part, why not be direct and ask them what they want in the relationship? If the relationship is a marriage, never give up, with one exception - abuse. If you are in an abusive situation, seek help and get out of the relationship if at all possible. Never put yourself in danger, and never tolerate abuse.

Marriages usually end when one person stops appreciating the other. Few marriages are beyond repair other than possibly in an abuse situation, as noted. When each person humbles themselves and begins to appreciate the other, they can reunite and become stronger than ever.

To strengthen your marriage as much as possible, check out this short article:

How to Make Your Marriage the Best It Can Possibly Be

If the relationship is less formal than marriage and you believe in your heart you are doing all you can to make it work, be direct and attempt to discuss whatever issues exist openly. Don't forget to explore the above questions first and determine what you are giving in return for the relationship.

Should there be a mutual interest in keeping the relationship strong, great. If there is not, it may be time to lighten up or to let it go.

Don't forget to closely examine your spirit or attitude about the person. What is your attitude like when you are with them? Do you care how you come across or not? Is your attitude towards them good, bad, or indifferent? Attitude alone can provide plenty of understanding about how meaningful the relationship is to you and the other person. If you have no desire to change, well, I'm sure you know what to do.

You are now in a position to correct or change the situation if you wish.

For some great ideas for how to improve any relationship, check out this brief article:

How to Create the Best Relationships in Life

Final thoughts

You can apply Babson's recommendation to practically anything or any area in life. Give it a try! Simply start by examining what you do for what you are getting while closely examining your attitude. If you do this in earnest, you will find a solution.

Finally, be sure to bring any existing unspoken or hidden issues into the light. Address them with frank, direct discussion. Unless you are good at reading minds, that is!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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