Giving the Gifts Away Without Attachment

Rich O'Keeffe  
MDI Contributor

Ah, enrollment. Everyone’s favorite topic of which to hold a lot of opinions.

Well, fear not, loyal readers, I too have some opinions for you to ponder.

In the dictionary definition, enrollment is centered around someone officially joining something – enroll into college, enroll your ship into a registry, the number of students in a college is referred to as the enrollment for that college – that sort of thing. But in transformation learning entities, such as Sterling Institute and Landmark, enrollment is more referential to the process that happens when a member shares their experiences with a friend or loved one in usually an endeavor to have that person also take the training.

I don’t have it verbatim, but there is a definition for enrollment I heard somewhere along the line that goes like this: Enrollment is the act of creating something in another’s reality such that that person can step into the opportunity and act. Basically, creating a possibility in their reality that they see something might be there for them. What I like about this definition is that it removes whether or not they actually take action from the process. It also has enrollment be an act of generosity. A gift, if you will.

Equating enrollment with whether or not they accept that gift leads to us determining whether or not we do the work of enrollment often based on how we feel about past results we have gotten.

I believe that the attachment to the results of enrollment often hamper us too much. We have a bad experience or two or three (or perhaps for those who have been around awhile dozens) where it didn’t turn out like we hoped. Maybe someone we really care about has ceased to even interacting with us any longer. Or maybe in our zeal, we continued to try to get them to do something long after they already said “no.” And that stampeding on their “no” has caused the rift.

But let’s circle back to the idea that it is a gift from you to them. The thing about gifts is that if they truly are a gift, then there is zero obligation on the part of the recipient to accept the gift. Really. If one gives a gift with an expectation that the recipient do something with it, then it is not a gift at all. At best, it is a barter or exchange. And that is just contrary to how humans work. Sure, sometimes they do what we wish – but more often when they don’t accept it, it becomes something that causes a divide. When the recipient is not fully free to do anything with the gift, the gift becomes something that is not a gift to the recipient, but more a vehicle for the giver to get something out of it. And, people can sniff that a mile away.

There is another aspect to gifts that is also important here. One cannot give something away if one does not have extra to give. Contrary to the popular dialogue, my experience of people with a lot of money is that they are far more generous than people with a scarcity of money in their life. If not money, then scarcity of whatever they are trying to “enroll” someone into. Heck, look at the men in your life who seem to always be able to meet women – they are absolutely not attached to any particular woman because they know there are lots and lots of available women. The men who just cannot seem to meet women, even when that man is a good looking guy with a lot of great aspects to offer, are those who think that there aren’t many good women available. So when they meet one, they act entirely different than those who feel there are plenty.

One last important aspect. A prerequisite for you to even want to enroll someone in anything is your desire for another person to have a better life.

This cannot be underrated.

It is really the only motivation that is pure to the gift giving aspect I wrote of previously. Humanity is based on this desire that people have. Sure, you can go through life focused on you. And to some extent, this culture moves a lot based on that. But the things that really matter are always based on wanting other people to have better.

Most inventions are based on making an activity easier or more efficient for other people. Most of the things that inspire us around the world are the result of someone or someone’s wanting somebody else to benefit.

Here is one example – during some recent unrest in Egypt, some Christians formed a ring around a bunch of Muslim people praying. There had been a bombing where many Christians had died and it was blamed on Muslim radicals. Someone – I have no idea who – had a thought that they wanted to ensure that all people get the opportunity to worship. The enrollment was the process of sharing that idea. The results are incredible and touching. (In fact, I am crying as I type this.) The collective created that possibility in a bunch of other protective people. Bear in mind that this picture was taken a month after the Alexandria bombing where many Christians died in vain. Yet they all stood by each other.

Story Here.

With all this in mind, let’s examine enrollment:

  • See the places where what you have to give would make a difference for someone.
  • Give the gifts you have to give. And be generous with them.
  • Don’t be attached to what the other person does with that gift.
  • Continue to love that person the same regardless of what they do with the gift.
  • When you get a “no” from someone, the only really useful thing to do is to take it as possible feedback on you and your message. Sometimes a no is because of your delivery. Sometimes a no is because they are just not ready to receive it. Or maybe they are not really interested in the thing you are offering.
  • When you are feeling stuck, look to see where you feel scarcity.
  • Handle that sense of scarcity before giving any more around that offering.
  • And above all else, continue to look for ways to make other people’s lives better. Because you first and foremost have a desire for other people to have better lives. And that is the reason I am proud to have you in my life.

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