There is an old idiom that you should ‘Never look a gift horse in the mouth’. I say that in life you should always look at a ‘gift’ to see if it is a true gift or a liability. You should be conscious of what you are getting yourself into. Many people who own a horse can tell you that the wrong type of horse can be much more a liability then it can be an asset. As you know, you can discover a lot about a horse’s condition by looking at its teeth. The health of a horse is also a big factor to discovering how much a liability it could for you, there are vet bills to pay… a liability.
This concept applies to other ‘gifts’ in your life. The idea that you are being disrespectful if you are investigating what you are getting into is crap.
People are often very lazy or ignorant to what a liability a ‘gift’ can create in someone else’s life. It is not that people are doing it intentionally to be malicious, they are just not aware of what they are doing.
For example, for my Birthday this year I received a heartfelt gift of a coffee machine. I like coffee, why not. Well it was one of those propriety coffee pod machines which means that in order to use the machine I had to change my purchasing habits for a more expensive coffee option that can only be purchased from a store that is out of my way, it also consumed more energy in it’s idol state then my current boil to size kettle that I use currently to brew my coffee.
So it created a liability for my money (extra expense and electricity) and for my time (extra time to get the proprietary coffee pods). Now don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful gift, just not for me and my situation.
Free always comes with a price and we also need to consider when we give gifts.
I have some rules that I keep to when giving gifts to others that requires a bit more thinking, but in my mind is about being a respectful gift giver.
In no particular order.
- Will it bring a holistic benefit to their life. For example will it save them time, money and hassle both in the short term and long run.
- Give quality not quantity. Something small of good quality is 100 times better then a lot crap that will break.
- If you don’t know them well enough don’t be afraid to ask someone who does, even if that person is the recipient of the gift.
- Try with all your might not to give ‘Stuff’ to horders. People who do that are just cruel and inconsiderate. Give an experience instead. It will add joy to their life without the pain of extra stuff contributing to their problem.
- Experiences will always mean much more to people. Stuff can break.
- Giving your time is one of the best gifts you can give in this time short world.
- Avoid waste in your gifts. Don’t buy new wrapping paper, recycle something or try using a reusable box with a ribbon or packing twine around it.
- Always have a part of a gift that makes them feel special in someway. Something pampering.
What rules do you use when giving gifts both in professional and personal life?