You don’t have to be a wiz at math to understand that the universe is an amazing mathematical model. It continually produces more of the variables that can be input into a simple truism: The more we lift each other up, the more we achieve ourselves.
As apathetic as the universe may be to whether the outcome is bad or good, it has a nearly inconceivable power to multiply results. And, sadly, most of us were never taught we have the power to control this arithmetic. So we don’t understand another actuality: that creating good for others has an exponential effect for us personally, far greater than our efforts and labor to create good directly for ourselves.
How do we know? In the very recent past we have likely seen countless examples of the antithesis: people deriving pleasure from someone else’s misfortunes, or schadenfreude. Think of the coworker who delights in gossip about someone else’s problems, and who regards everyone else with cynicism. Meanwhile, their own career is filled with disappointment, from being passed over for promotions to having ideas rejected and deals go south.
Schadenfreude begets more schadenfreude. That coworker is creating their own misfortune. The more they take a negative competition position with their peers and push their own agenda, the more they sabotage their own success and health.
But you may also know that one associate who just seems to always land on their feet and have much more luck than the rest of us. They may annoy everyone with their perpetual optimism and refusal to join in the usual rite of complaining about management. They are also the first to help a coworker who just can’t get through their own to-do list. If they’re a manager, they deflect all the credit to their team yet take the blame if the team fails. These are the variables in their life equation that bring them success after success, along with happiness and fulfillment.
But we can all do it. Here are some key strategies for lifting up others and, hence, lifting up ourselves:
1. Constantly search for opportunities to celebrate others. Every day we are surrounded with a plethora of tiny opportunities to cheerlead our coworkers, neighbors and the great number of strangers with whom we interact. While walking to work one recent morning, I passed my 70-yearold neighbor on her daily jog. Amazing! I gave her a hearty, “Good morning! Looking strong!” and she gave me the greatest smile back.
I know this made a difference in her day as well as mine. And that smile inspired me to greet each person I passed on the street during my walk with an emphatic “Good morning!” I truly believe I made their day a little bit better. Having been so positive and outgoing on the way to work, I was more open to being proactive and outgoing in my own workday. And I certainly sent positive vibes into the universe.
2. Help your competitors thrive. The same factors and variables that make one enterprise successful also create wealth and success for the rest. That’s why restaurants and car dealerships all group together in high-traffic locations and root for their competitors to be wildly successful. If one does well, the others know that they, in turn, will also be.
I teach my business associates to spend all day giving referrals to everyone else — if they do, they will never have to ask for a referral again in their career. Have you ever known that one person who throws the great parties and attends all the charity and civic events but seems to spend the entire evening introducing their friends and associates to each other in order that they all may do business together? When those recipients find great success, they certainly remember who first connected them and will do everything they can to support the connector.
3. Be the first to stand up for and give a hand to others. I believe from my work and personal experience that 18% of all incarcerated individuals in America are actually innocent. With only 5% of the world population, but 25% of the world’s incarcerated population, there are a tremendous number of American citizens affected. I also know from personal experience that the media celebrates the downfall of individuals with incredible appetite and hyperbole. And there is no such thing as a pure and truthful political statement, much less a politician.
The person who creates goodness in the universe, and subsequently for themselves, understands that a great deal of what we hear, read, and watch is not true — and will eventually be disproven and dismissed. So be the first one to admit “I don’t know,” to withhold judgment and, even better, to never make a judgment. Be loyal, be compassionate, and realize that most of what you think you know, you do not. This will serve you well when the inevitable time comes for your own failures and defeats.
Look for every opportunity to celebrate others. Cheer for your team with wild abandon, and if defeated, be the first one to congratulate your opponents with class and grace. Talk about others’ successes, not your own. Compliment everyone about everything. This is the power of the universe. Every day you can make a choice to input positivity into the electrical grid, or to propagate more negative energy. The circuitry will pass along whatever you choose and surround your life with protons or electrons. I know you will make the right choice.
Jeffrey A. Martinovich is a First Gulf War Veteran, MBA, and CEO of JAM Accelerator, LLC, a business consulting and incubation firm. Previously, Jeff was Founder and CEO of MICG Investment Management, a billion-dollar wealth management firm. After the 2008 Financial Crisis, Jeff rejected three government plea offers, resulting in a 14-year prison sentence. Yet the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed twice, two U.S. District Court Judges were removed, and after nearly 7 years, he was released to home confinement in May 2020 to begin rebuilding his life. His book is Just One More: The Wisdom of Bob Vukovich. Learn more at jeffmartinovich.com.