Be Generous with Your Time and Information

As you get older and probably not any wiser you will learn a lot of stuff. Some of that stuff will be important to other people, often younger people, but not always. Share what you know with them. Don’t hold on to information for the sake of it. Don’t hold on to your time for the sake of it. What would you be doing with it that could be in any way more worthwhile?

If you have a special talent or skill, pass it on. I don’t necessarily mean you have to spend all your spare evenings down at the local youth club teaching young punks all about whatever it is you do or know about.

But if the opportunity arises, then go for it. I was recently asked to give a talk to a bunch of 6-year-olds about what it means to be an author. At first, I thought, “But I’m not an author; I might just qualify, and only just, as a writer.” But an author sounded far too grand, too fictitious, too grown-up for me. What on earth could I tell 6-year-olds about what I do for a living? But, remembering my own Rule, I warmly and graciously accepted and went along. I must say I had one of the most pleasurable mornings in a long time. They were fantastic. They asked brilliant questions, paid attention, chatted in a very adult way, were keen and interested, and in general were well behaved and marvelous. It would have been so easy to say no. And you never know what you might inspire in others, what flame you might fan, what encouragement you might give without even knowing.

This Rule especially applies at work. It’s very easy to fall into the mindset that if you know stuff that nobody else does, then you have the upper hand–to believe that knowledge is power and you should hang on to every little bit of it. Actually, the most successful people in life are always looking to pass on what they know, to bring on others in their wake. Because if you don’t, then who’s going to replace you? You make yourself indispensable, and you have just wedged yourself in a career rut.

If you’re not passing on your talents and skills, what are you doing with them? What great secrets have you got that demand to be withheld from the world? Or is it laziness? Successful Rules Players say yes as often as possible because there is an incredible experience to be had in passing stuff on. And it is genuinely useful. Don’t go thinking that what you know is of no use to anyone. I guarantee it will be quite the opposite because the second you say yes, you become one step up from all those who say no. That makes you important, successful, decisive, and generous. And that makes you special.

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