The 100/0 principle: Creating great relationships

I have always tried to live a generous and thoughtful life, aiming to be selfless and not selfish. But I recently came across an idea that inspired me to change the way I build relationships. I first read about the 100/0 principle in Darren Hardy’s book The Compound Effect. It’s about taking control over the creation of successful relationships. “You have to be willing to give 100 percent with zero expectation of receiving anything in return. Only when you are willing to take 100 percent responsibility for making the relationship work, will it work. Otherwise, the relationship left to chance will always be vulnerable to disaster.”

Most people think of relationships as 50/50. I do this for you, you do that for me. I will sacrifice something, but only if you sacrifice something as well. These ideas give people the sense of “fair”, but will usually also bring a sense of resentment. Most importantly, it requires someone other than you to create a successful relationship. The principle of 100/0 goes against everything we are taught about fairness growing up. If one of our friends gave us a Squeeze-It, our parents made us give them something back in exchange, because it’s only fair, right? Thus, an expectation was created that if we do something for someone, they will do something for us in return. If they don’t, then why bother giving them our time, effort, or attention.

Implementing 100/0 in you lifestyle will boost your relationships, because what we do depends on OUR effort. WE are accountable for developing a positive relationship. Instead of complaining about someone not doing something, take the initiative to do it because you want your relationship with them to be strong. Before I give you some ideas of how you can start living 100/0, let’s clarify what this principle is NOT…

A non-stop charity – Living 100/0 does not mean giving all (if any) of your money, time, possessions away to people. In fact, much of the principle does not even imply spending money or buying gifts.

Letting people dominate you – You will not be considered soft for living this way. In order to successfully live 100/0, you must be principle driven. Your beliefs and values will not be compromised by giving without the expectation of return.

Making everything you do "volunteer"– If you work in the service business, living 100/0 does not mean that you work for free. This is your job, your trade. It is natural that you charge money for what you do.

Doing everything on your own – 100/0 is about doing things and acts to benefit relationships, not taking on twice your workload because someone is lazy. Know the difference between helping someone, and taking over their life. Also, make sure you know specifically which relationships are most important to you. Those are the ones which require the most attention.

Here are a few things you can do to implement the 100/0 principle into your life:

Do the little things that are not expected, but everyone desires Take the time to open the door for people who are walking through doorways at the same time. Help a person pick up something that they dropped. Go out of your way to do easy, unexpected acts that help people have better days.

Listen… Give people your attention if they are talking to you. Put your phone down! Make the person you are interacting with the most important person to you at that time. On a deeper level, listen to what people appreciate. Find out what their complaints are and what stresses them.

…understand… There are some things that other people value which may seem quite unimportant to us. We have the tendency to brush those things aside. Why bother if we don’t understand the significance, right? Truly understand why things are important to those close to you.

…Apply What is important to the people that are in your life? What signs have they given of what they value and appreciate? A long tradition in my family is leaving empty egg shells in the carton when we cook eggs. There is no purpose to this, but it’s what I have done my whole life. While I was cooking eggs at my girlfriend’s house one day, she expressed her displeasure of my habit. At first, I thought, “What’s the difference? Why would it matter that empty egg shells in the carton?” Then I realized, I was only asking myself what’s in it for me. I was being stubborn because it did not affect me. However, in the long run, my stubbornness would lead to her displeasure, which would cause friction in the relationship. Because it is important for her and I care about our relationship growing, I am now removing the empty egg shells.

Support other people’s goals We know how important our goals are. In trying to achieve our goals, we put everything we have into reaching the level we want to reach. If we give that same effort to supporting others’ goals, that value would mean more than any monetary value or gift. Go out of your way to do something that shows someone close to you how much you want to see them succeed. I have a friend who recently began eating primal. One of the easiest ways to fall of track is by not having enough food to eat. Knowing the difficulties of changing to a healthy lifestyle, I gave him the chicken and spinach lunch I had packed. This way he could suppress his hunger with something primal, but also know that I was really supporting him and pushing him to succeed.

Most importantly - - be genuine You can’t live 100/0 if you are bitter or feel cheated that you just did something good for somebody and they are not doing anything to pay you back. That’s the whole point! You have to be happy knowing that you are making someone's life better. Intentionally do those things for others, and soon you will be creating the best relationships of your life.

"The more you give, the more you get. The more you get, the more you get to give." -Michael Ellsberg